I rang the doorbell, biting back violent tremors of cold, even though I was dressed in two layers of clothing. It was around nine in the morning the day before Halloween. The seniors were taking a trip together on an all expenses paid for vacation to Orlando for the weekend. It was thanks to years of donations and fundraisers to make this a possible yearly tradition. We are the first class of seniors to have this lucky opportunity to go to Orlando, Florida and do whatever we liked Halloween weekend. However, there was a catch, as there always happened to be. Only a lucky few had been able to go: five seniors out of the entire class, so costs wouldn't drain the entire field trip budget. By the luck of the draw, Luke, Janice, Gary from gym class, his girlfriend Helen and I were able to go to this trip. Our names had been drawn in a raffle, so I guess you could say it was fate.
At last, the door opened, revealing Janice, holding a hissing cat that struggled in her arms. The cat leapt to the ground, hissed one last time, then skittered into the darkness of the house.
"Hi," Janice said breathlessly. "I was about to give Sherman a bath before heading to the airport. Don't you have anyone to take you?" I shook my head and stepped inside. Janice let me in without further comment, closing the door behind me. I set my overnight bag down on the floor, holding in more shivers. I was so cold today.
"You're dressed a little warm for the weather," my friend noted. I shrugged and took a quick look around. It wasn't long before I located the bathroom. Janice was busy searching for her cat. I slipped into the bathroom unnoticed. Perhaps here I can cut much deeper unnoticed. Not enough to die. Not just yet. As much as I hated living, I knew this would be a bad time. So, I swiftly took my lengthened nails and continually dragged, deeper and deeper into my skin until I felt a sharp sting and blood trickled down.
The door flung open just minutes later, revealing Janice with her cat. I stared in shock at her. Drip, drip, drip. My blood quietly splashed onto the cream colored tiles. My fingernails were stained with more blood. The cat jumped out of Janice's arms and ran off. She walked up to me, gazing at me as if she'd never seen me before.
"Why?" she asked quietly. Her voice cracked slightly. Drip, drip, drip...why wouldn't the bleeding stop? I realized I had written the word help in my own blood on the injury site. I quickly smeared it. She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around my arm. I noticed her head was carefully faced away from me as she applied pressure to the wound. The dripping didn't stop, though. I realized the blood hadn't been dripping down my arm at all, but from directly above. My eyes drifted upward. I nearly screamed at the sight of a body that had been torn to pieces, then hung like butcher's meat. I was almost sick at seeing the small intestine and large intestine tied in a complicated knot around all the body parts: the head, arms, torso, and legs. I was looking at what was left of one of our teachers from school.
"J-Janice," I stammared.
"Look, it's okay, I'm not mad," Janice said. Her voice hitched. I realized she was crying. "I'm not mad at all. I just wish there was..."
"Janice," I said again.
"...a way I could help you," she continued, as if I hadn't spoken. "Your life has just been so hard, and I had no idea, and I wonder if I'm too late to-"
"Janice!" I interrupted harshly. She stopped talking at once, confused and startled by my tone. "Look up," I told her in a softer voice. She did as she was told. I watched as the towel fell to the floor. My arm immediately started bleeding again, but that was the least of my problems at the moment. I looked up at the ceiling and noticed there was a message written with what appeared to be a black Sharpie marker.
Since I can't get the girls, no one else can either!
"What is that supposed to mean?" Janice asked shakily. She cleared her throat. "We need to call the police," she said in a more confident voice.
"I don't know, let's just get out of here!" I said quickly, rushing out of the room. I snatched my bag and stepped outside. Janice was right behind me with her things not long after. I was still bleeding, but not as severely. I shivered yet again. Janice didn't seem to notice.
The drive to the airport was miraciously short. A good thing, because I hated being in small spaces. Meaning this trip to Orlando by plane was going to be complete torture. I kept my mouth shut as the thoughts in my mind began to take over. I remained calm in security. I was perfectly well behaved, even up to the moment where I got squeezed into a seat that caused my anxiety to act up even more.
"Shut up, Oliver!" I heard a man say harshly in the seat behind me. I winced at his tone of voice. I could never understand cruelty. So, I just did my best to ignore the yelling and pulled out my iPod-a present from my dad that I was using for the first time since downloading a bunch of songs Janice had suggested to me one day. I scrolled through the impossibly long list and chose a song at random. A song about strength, despite everything. I listened to it in silence, barely noticing who sat on either side of me.
"Luke, look at her," I heard Janice said softly.
"What about her?" I ignored them, lost in the music that seemed to be the only thing that really understood me. Before I knew it, I had fallen fast asleep, giving into my almost constantly sore aches from continuous running and endless exhaustion from hardly ever letting myself sleep in the first place.
Ruthless Nightmare Ruthless Nightmare Ruthless Nightmare Ruthless Nightmare Ruthless Nightmare Ruthless Nightmare
We arrived at the hotel that evening. Since there were so few of us, we could have gotten our own rooms if we wanted. However, that would have been so expensive given the place we'd be staying in. So, instead the plan was that girls and boys would be split up, which only made sense. Janice and Helen agreed to share a bed while I got one to myself. I laid my things down and immediately collapsed onto the bed, feeling tired despite my naps on the plane.
"I don't know what the plan is for me after high school," I heard Helen say. "I was hoping for culinary school, but my GPA needs to be raised by the end of the year. No one who's tutored me so far has been helpful enough."
"Oh, wow!" Janice said in an interested tone. "I was just going to go to medical school and follow in my dad's footsteps." That was when I realized...I have no idea about my future. When I turned nineteen(since I screwed up my birthday, I'd have to wait another year), I was going to be changed into a full vampire. While my dad was a full vampire, and could go out into the sun, that was after centuries of practice that had given him tolerance of the harmful rays. I'd have to wear a special article of clothing to go out in the sunlight.
"What's with Rose, anyways? She's so...weird."
"How would you know what she's like? You never talk to her or bother to acknowledge her existence."
"Not my fault she doesn't say a word," Helen scoffed. I'm sorry I don't talk enough I'm sorry I'm not good enough sorry so sorry-I quietly slipped into the bathroom and closed the door behind me, feeling for my hidden blade. I had to, now, no matter how much I'd disappoint her. I remembered on the way to the airport, Janice had bandaged up my arm without saying a word about me hurting myself again.
"Sometimes the most silent of people have the most to say," Janice replied simply. The blade was in my hand. I ripped back the sleeve of my right arm. This cut would be a little jagged and awkward. I wasn't left handed.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Helen demanded. I wasn't good enough. Never good enough. I pushed the sleeve up higher, just before it slid back down.
"If you'd stick around long enough," Janice said to her as she got off the bed, "I think you will find out." I heard her moving toward the bathroom door. In my head I could hear her voice brokenly asking why. The blade clattered to the floor, just as the door behind me swung open. I could feel my friend staring at me.
"Rose-" I spun around and looked at her, my eyes stinging with tears. She gazed back at me worriedly. I watched as her eyes drifted over my exposed arm.
"Good," she said quietly. To my shock, she ran forward and hugged me tightly. She was only a little shorter than me, and her head came down on my shoulder. She shook slightly. I realized, that maybe my best friend wasn't as strong as I thought she was. I held her as she took a minute to compose herself. Finally, Janice pulled away and wiped her eyes.
"You reisisted on your own," she said in disbelief. "Don't you realize this means hope for you?" What? On my own? If it wasn't for her, I would have been dead long ago. I decided it was best not to say anything, though.
"What was all that about?" Helen demanded. I quickly tugged at my sleeve until my cuts were covered up once again.
"Must you be so nosy?" Janice sighed in an exasperated tone.
"Yes, yes I must!" Helen insisted. She drew herself to her full height, no taller than four eleven. Her fawny toned hair whipped wildly around her face with the sudden movement. Things were escalating quickly. I needed to get out of here. Fights. Yelling. No. Oh gosh. No. Thoughts I couldn't even make sense of started to assault me. I spun on the heel and ran out of there, wasting no time on my wish to burn those next few calories to drop down another pound. My life was spiraling out of control. A fight was happening. I had to control it through intense exercise till I dropped to the ground. But before I could reach the outside, I passed by the boys' hotel room. They were talking about something. I paused, curious.
"So, did you hear about that so-called sex offender?" Gary asked loudly.
"What?" Luke blurted. I heard a thump. He must have fallen off the bed. "What do you mean?"
"The sex offender who was on the news a few times. He was a big deal in my neighborhood." I decided to listen harder, remembering the man I had encountered weeks before while out on a late night run.
"Oh, that guy! Walter, his name was I think...anyways what about him?" What an ordinary name for such a monsterous man. Then again, who was I to judge? I lightly traced where I had carved the word 'fat' into my skin. There were other places that word was located, but this one was most accessible.
"I believe there is more to him," Gary said, his voice quieter now. "I think he's a murderer!" I thought of the body in Janice's bathroom.
"Are you insane? There's no way!"
"Oh, but there is! And here's how I know...I saw the police outside Janice's house not long after she left with some girl in my class. They brought out a body that was in pieces. The sex offender had been missing for weeks and now there are finger prints all over this poorly hidden murder." My stomach churned, remembering the sight of that gory, bloody...I turned and ran away from the area and was promply sick into a nearby trash can. Nothing but stomach acid. I hadn't eaten a thing in four days.
I knew that I couldn't eat, though. I wasn't allowed to until I did my two mile run, five hundred sit-ups, a thousand push-ups, and three hundred pull-ups. Then I had to make sure I had made my goal weight. Even then, I still had to be restricted to a hundred calories to ensure I didn't gain anything. But if Ana said I hadn't lost enough to please her, then I'd have yet another day of downing enough water to fill an ocean. My stomach cramped with intense hunger. Dizziness brought me right to my knees. I slumped over, too weak to even begin the night's exercises. A hand came down on my shoulder. I shivered at the contact.
"Come on, let's go back to the room, you must be freezing." I let myself be half dragged, half led back to the room without was another day. Things could only get worse from here.