I had never experienced death before. I had lived my life in a bubble of naivety and pleasure, blissfully unaware of what lay ahead. So when Kelsey Kay Vanderson's death was announced, I was baffled at the emotions I felt.
It was a numb, strange sort of feeling. Very surreal. It was as though I was no longer a part of my body and everything had slowed down to a dreamlike state. Voices had become distorted, faces had become foreign to me, even the sound of my own heartbeat confused me. The numb feeling only lasted a second though. What followed after made me miss the dull ache.
When people say their heart drops at the sound of bad news, they're not wrong. Only this wasn't a drop, so much as an infinite plummet. It was as though my body was a never ending vessel, and my heart full of emotions and feelings continued to fall...and fall...and fall. Along with it, dragging all of my senses, draining every last inch of happiness from my body and replacing it with the most staggering, overwhelming sense of grief and utter despair.
Kelsey's face stared at me, her blue eyes accusing me for her death. Her pink lips moved quickly and I had to concentrate to keep up with what she was saying, as there was no sound.
You did this to me, you did this to me, you did this to me, you did this to me...
Of course I had done it to her. What other logical explanation was there? I was meant to be her friend. She was meant to trust me with her problems. I had obviously fucked up somewhere along the line, broken that cord of friendship, damaged the line of trust and ultimately ruined all chances of saving her.
I thought of Odette. Of Tony and Freya. How they must be feeling right now. We were all experiencing it, all experiencing this journey together. It was going to be rough, we were going to suffer and it was going to hurt a hell of a lot.
And it had only just begun.
* * *
I no longer recognized myself in the mirror anymore.
Before, I had been happy. You could see the happiness in my eyes, if you ignored the seemingly incessant darkness of them. They looked black, two small abyss' that someone may shrug off as cold and uncaring, but if you took the time, you could see the quiet joy and bliss. The contentment at her life.
Now they just looked dead.
Purple bruises hung under my eyes, only made more prominent thanks to the paleness of my skin. My jet black hair, unruly and completely unkempt, stuck out wildly in difficult angles, each curl seeming to have a mind of it's own. My pyjama vest top hung off my shoulders, fell past my stomach. Mum said I had gotten too thin since the death, that I should eat something. But how could I when it was so trivial? When I couldn't keep anything down anyway?
There seemed to be immeasurable pain in my features. In the set of my mouth, the droop of my eyes, the languid stance of my body. Nothing really mattered anymore. I was passing through life in a blur, each day just a simple test of my sanity. I missed Kelsey so much it hurt me every second. So fucking much.
'Livvy? Sweetie?' my mother's sugary voice drifted up the stairs. The only person in the world that called me "Livvy". 'Are you up yet?'
I continued staring in the mirror, hating what I saw.
Kelsey would have wanted us to be happy. She would have wanted us to move on, but how could she ask that of us when it was near on impossible?
The stairs creaked beneath my mother's steps.
Seconds later the bathroom door pushed open and I saw her standing there, from my peripheral vision.
'You're up,' she laughed shakily. 'About time. You're going to be late for school at this rate.'
'Aren't you meeting Odette soon?'
'We always walk to school together.'
'Yes,' my mother said slowly. 'So you should be getting ready now shouldn't you?'
Why was she talking to me like I was a damn child? I was sixteen for crying out loud, nearing seventeen and hear she was treating me like an infant. I whirled to face her, my expression angry, when I caught the look of surprise on her face. But it wasn't the surprise that stopped me. Fear was showing in her eyes.
She was scared of me.
'I'm sorry mum,' I mumbled. 'I'll get ready now.'