“Life is just simple complexity.” - Unknown
| l a y n e |
I wake up in Clara’s room and feel a weight on my chest. My eyes open slowly and I look down to see Clara’s light red face facing me. Her eyes slowly open and my blue eyes meet her brown eyes. I smile at her and she actually smiles back.
“Do you know how many times I have seen you actually smile?” I ask.
“No,” Clara murmurs.
“I don’t smile as much as I used to.”
“Is it because of...you know?” I touch my wrist.
“That, and my father.”
“He actually helped me. The physical pain helped a lot.”
Harriet opens the door. “Clara. Layne.”
We close our eyes and pretend to be asleep.
“They still asleep?” Lucy asks, her voice unusually subdued.
“Yeah,” Harriet answers.
“Is Nick coming to school?”
“Yeah. How’s Zeke?”
“He didn’t go to bed until 5am.”
“He can stay with Layne and Clara.”
The door closes and we open our eyes. Lucy and Harriet reach the bottom of the stairs and Clara bites her hand to stifle her laughter. The door opens again and she instantly closes her eyes. I look up and tense. Nick.
“Go away, Nick,” I snap. “You’ve done enough.”
“I want to apologise,” Nick says.
“To Clara or me?”
“Both of you.”
“Apology denied on my account.”
Nick closes the door and Clara opens her eyes. She sits up and glares at the closed door. I hear Lucy’s car drive away and start to get out of bed. Clara hands me her phone and I look at her in confusion.
“Just watch the video,” Clara murmurs.
I open the video and the first thing I see is white-gold sand and crystal blue water. She is at the beach. In the distance I can hear voices and suddenly two people are in the picture. I can tell that one of them is Harriet and the other is the blonde.
The voices get closer and I hear a familiar accent. The conversation gets clearer and tears sting my eyes when I finally recognise the second voice. Harriet and Nick are talking about Harriet cheating on me with Nick. Suddenly they tell each other they love each other and what happens next shocks me to the core. They kiss.
I throw Clara’s phone at the wall, probably smashing the screen, and Clara pulls me into a hug. I sob and Zeke runs in to see what all the noise is about. He sees me crying and instantly pulls me into a hug. I push them both away and hug my knees to my chest.
“What are you doing in here, Zeke?” Clara asks.
“I came to see what all the commotion is about,” Zeke answers.
“Rewind the video on my phone.”
“If it still works. Yeah.”
Zeke watches the video and throws the poor phone at the wall a second time, almost certainly breaking it this time. He sits on the edge of the mattress before he starts cursing back and front, up and down. I never thought that I’d hear Zeke swear as much as he was doing, but now I am. He eventually throws a pillow at the wall and I chuckle as his weird motion.
“Why did you come here anyway, Zeke?” Clara asks.
“I originally felt angry and stressed,” Zeke sighs. “Now I am as pissed as hell and want to kill someone!”
“I know only two things that will help,” I say.
“Hit someone or something.”
“Cut,” Clara says.
| c l a r a |
The next thing I know, we are all in my bathroom with blood coated razors in our hands. Zeke’s face is unusually calm and Layne is reclining against the closed door. They’re too still, but I know that they are alive. Am I the only one that is still angry and stressed in here?!
“Not enough,” I mumble when Layne takes my razor.
“You’ve cut enough, Clara,” Zeke says.
“It’s enough,” Layne says.
“It’s not enough!” I snap. “It didn’t help!”
“You’ll die if you cut much more.”
“I don’t care!”
“Everyone that lives here does!” Zeke exclaims.
I ignore the comment, wrapping a bandage around my leg and cleaning up the blood on the floor. I throw the mat into the washing machine and start it. I turn around and see that both Layne and Zeke have a few bracelets covering the bandages on their wrists. They are looking at me with fear and worry.
“What?” I ask.
“Do you want to die?” Layne asks.
Yes. “I don’t know, Layne.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“I do, but I don’t. That make sense?”
He nods. “Why?”
“I only have seven people to live for.”
“Is Nick one of them?” Zeke asks.
I look at Layne and his eyes go wide.
“Please not who I think,” Layne begs.
“If it’s Jer, then yes it is,” I reply.
“He is so similar to me. He understands my situation.”
“And you think we don’t?!”
“He is like me. His is disfigured.”
“His feet. They’re all...twisted.”
“Twisted as in how?”
“Almost literally. He has six toes on each foot, his actual foot is dented and - I’m gonna be sick.”
I throw up in the toilet and Lou rubs my back. Jer wouldn’t be angry or annoyed if he knew why I was doing this. Also what I was doing; throwing up over the thought of his disfigured feet. He’s my brother, but I can’t tell Layne, Harriet, Nick, Lucy and Zeke. I promised.