Kiley’s heartbreaking screech could be heard echoing through the whole house. Her wails rushed through the walls like ghosts, haunting every dust particle and leaving a deathly chill in their wake.
It was more than an hour later that she’d become coherent again, and even then, all she said was, “No. Please God no,” over and over and over. The blanket over her shoulders did nothing to bring the color back to her face, or to stop the violent tremors shooting through her body. Tears had streaked down her face for so long that her cheeks were red and raw from the repetitive tracks.
The only thing that brought her any comfort was Mack’s presence. And even that did little, but at least made her feel like someone shared her anguish. She gripped him tightly, her shaking fingers locked around his waist. His face was as pale as hers, and his body shuddered with sobs like hers.
Blue and red lights alternated flashing over their faces and the house, adding a ghastly effect to the already horrific scene. Medics wheeled out a stretcher with a sheet over it. Kiley’s sobs regained their initial vigor, and Mack had to disentangle himself for a minute to vomit in the grass.
Another two hours later, Mack pulled Kiley to her feet and muttered, “Come on, Kiley. We need to go home. It’s late.”
Kiley let out another sob. “Don’t make me sleep. Please God don’t make me sleep. I can’t. I just keep seeing her…” Her voice broke off abruptly as she choked back more tears. The gruesome scene flashed before her eyes – Anna’s limp, ashen body splayed in the bathtub, naked, kept modest only by the blood that had poured out of her wrists and clouded the water. The ruddy scarlet had soaked into her already auburn hair, turning it a sickening shade that contrasted sharply with her corpse and porcelain tub.
Mack shushed her and soothed her as well as a broken young man could. He led her back to his house and sat them both on his couch, his arms wrapped tightly around her. She cried desperately for a long time more. Once her sobs had softened into hiccups, she croaked, “Mack?”
He shifted to look her in the eyes.
“I found this next to her.” She held up a sheet of creased and crumpled lined paper, a handwritten note scrawled across it. “I – I haven’t read it yet.”
He gently pried it from her fingers and held it out for them both to read.
Kiley and Mack,
I’m not sure which of you will find this, though I hope I’m long gone by the time one of you does. Is it sad that I’m so sure it’ll be one of you, and not any of my family? Well, I guess if my life wasn’t sad I wouldn’t be doing this. I’m killing myself. As you’ll already know when you read this. I’m done with this bullshit world. Really, there’s no reason for me to stay. When I begged you for help – God I can’t even remember what I said in that letter I stuck to our tree other than please – you did nothing. So even my best friends don’t give a shit enough to tell me to stick around. So thanks for everything, and nothing. Bye.
“Letter in our tree?” Mack asked, gulping down tears. “What letter?”
“We haven’t been to the tree for a while,” Kiley answered, confused and horrified and tortured.
“Let’s go.” Mack jumped up, Kiley stumbling behind him. He snatched the keys from by the door. Ignoring the icy bite of the night wind, they got in his car and drove.
Soon enough, they were at the park where their tree was. Now they sprinted, tripping over stray twigs and fallen pinecones, but continuing down the hill to their secluded secret area.
They came to an abrupt stop as they reached the tree, shocked and terrified by what they saw – a note, much like the one Anna had left behind, duct taped securely to the tree.
“Oh God,” Kiley breathed.
“Fuck,” Mack moaned. He ripped the duct tape off and pulled the letter down.
Mack and Kiley,
So you guys said you’d hang out here tomorrow. I said I couldn’t go, but really I just don’t want to. I don’t want to do anything anymore. I guess this is me, trying one last time to reach out for help. Please, help me. Please. I can’t stop. I just keep finding new ways to hurt myself. Razors, scissors, nails, even my goddamn pen. It’s like an itch that just isn’t ever scratched. It’s there in the back of your mind, all the time. It’s patient. You can tell yourself no, that’s stupid, come on, pull out of it, but it’s still there, just waiting. Because you can only tell yourself those things for so long before you realize that eventually you’re going to give in. You can’t fight forever. So I started. First I’d just scratch at my wrist a little bit, just until it really started to hurt, and then I’d stop. I figured I wasn’t bleeding, so it wasn’t that bad, right? Then one time, I just couldn’t stop. Even when it started bleeding, it wasn’t enough. I just kept scratching.
Now it’s never enough. I can only stop when I pass out, or when I switch to the other wrist. I’m trying. God, I’m trying so hard. But it’s like having your head shoved underwater. You didn’t do it, but it was forced on you and now you’re too disoriented and dazed to find your way to the surface. Everything is blurred and shut out.
And, you know, you really try to be open about it. You really try to get help. But you just get so fucking ashamed of your weakness that you lie without even meaning to. So you smile and laugh and hang out, all the while, your oxygen supply is running out, and you still can’t find the surface. Someone asks how you are, you’re more convincing that you’re good now than when you actually were good. Inside, you’re screaming, begging, crying for help, but outside you’re casual and relaxed. I probably would’ve been a bad ass actress.
Nights are hell. I can’t sleep. Ever. It’ll be 5:30, and I’ll finally drop off, just dead exhausted. Then I’ll have to wake up an hour later. When I’m awake for all those hours, it’s just guilt and agony and hate and pain running through my head. Nobody really gives a shit about me, do they? What the fuck am I good for? This is so stupid, get the fuck over yourself. There are little kids in Africa who actually have problems and you don’t see them slicing their fucking wrists open. It’s pretty much just a loop by now.
So I’m reaching out. I can’t do it in person, because I’d probably just chicken out, smile, and say yeah, I’m fine. Like I always do. So for God’s sakes, please, please, please, Kiley, Mack, if I’m wrong, if you can help, or want to, please, call me. Help me. Please. Because at this point, I don’t know what the fuck I’m capable of. I can feel my oxygen running out.