Part 3 - The Before and the AfterMature

Before.

The girl walked in to her room, patterned blue and white. The sun was spreading its last rays across her duvet, a faint, orangey-pink sun perched on the horizon.

The shower was running in the en suite bathroom.
She tapped on the door with her knuckles, brief but loud.

"Harry? I'm napping, wake me when you're done."

There was no response from behind the closed door; she decided to forget about it. He would wake her up anyway.

She settled down on the duvet, curling up on the neatly made bed. The brilliant sun was slowly ducking under the horizon, and she watched it with sleepy eyes, which reflected the reds and oranges and pinks.

She soon fell asleep.

As strong as you were, tender you go.
I'm watching you breathing for the last time.
A song for your heart, but when it is quiet,
I know what it means and I'll carry you home.

The girl’s eyes fluttered open, first slowly, then they snapped apart.
She could see the sky through the window, dark-velvet with brilliant pin-pricks of light running across it. The moon was luminous and round.

The shower was still on.
Edging on panic, she slid of the bed, with a now-crumpled duvet. She went to the bathroom door, knuckles poised to knock. She hesitated, for a brief half of a second, then knocked.

No response.

She knocked again, harder.

“Harry?”

No response.
Bewildered, and on the brink of alarm, she knocked again. Her knuckles ached.

“Harry, open up. I know you’re in there.”

To no avail.
The girl pulled at the door handle – it was locked. She couldn’t get inside.

“Harry, stop it, you’re scaring me,” said the girl, breath quickening, voice rising in octaves. “Open the door.”

The silence was interrupted by the persistent pattering of the shower.
She yanked despairingly at the door handle. “Harry, open up right now!” she said, almost hysterical. “It’s not funny!”

And any moment now, she expected him to push the door open, towel rumpling his hair, grin wide on his lips. Lighten up, he’d say, smirking playfully. Because he always did. Always.

Except he didn’t.

The girl tried to keep calm.
“Harry, this isn’t funny. I’m actually worried. If you don’t open this door, I’ll get Will to open it.”

She stopped rattling the door handle.
Still no response.

“Harry!” she cried out, anxious. “Please, open up!”

A boy walked in. “Ilene, what’s the matter?”

“Harry isn’t opening the door,” said the girl, breathing unsteadily. “I – I’m freaking out.”
The boy gave her a look.

“Mad-Hatter Harry isn’t opening the bathroom door, and you’re panicking?”

“Yes,” the girl hissed, defiantly.

The boy gazed at her, his expression one of ridiculing her, then he sighed. He grazed the bathroom door with his fist.

“Hatter, open it up. Ilene is panicking.”

Nothing happened. The boy rolled his eyes, turning towards the girl. “Great, he’s not letting me in either.”

“Will, something is wrong,” she said frantically. “He’d be out by now, laughing at me. I mean – I – I know Harry, and this isn’t right. He’d have at least let the door open and act like he was dead!”

The boy sighed. “Sis. It’s just a joke. He’ll probably open up in a little while. Chill, alright?”

But she had already stopped listening to the boy, and had pressed her ear against the  dark wood.

“Damn it, I can’t hear anything over the shower!” said the girl shrilly. She dropped to the floor, stomach flat on the ground, and peered through the crack under the door.

The boy leaned against the door, impatient. “What’re you doing?”

Suddenly, the girl spoke. “Will – Will! He’s – I can see him lying on the bathroom floor! He’s wearing the same clothes as he was before – something isn’t right!”

The boy frowned. “That’s strange,” he noted.

The girl kneeled at his feet, clutching at his hands.

“Will, please. Just force the door open!”

“Mum’ll kill me!” protested the boy.

“I’ll pay! I’ll tell her I did it, just open it, Goddamn it!”

The boy heaved a sigh, but he pressed his palms against the cool wood. His hands were unsteady.

“Hatter,” said the boy slowly, “I’m forcing my way in. You’ve got five seconds to open this door.”

The girl waited, eyes full of angst, for the five seconds which felt like five millennia. Nothing happened.

“Coming in,” called the boy, and he crashed in to the door.

The lock was hardly firm at all, and snapped on the first try. Pale white paint flecks fell to the ground in a cloud like a blizzard of snowflakes, as the boy stumbled inside, door clattering to the ground.
He stood stock still.

“Harry?” he asked hoarsely.

The girl clambered inside, pushing the door away. “Harry!” she cried out.

A boy with dusty brown hair strewn over his face lay on the floor. An empty bottle of pills rolled on the floor next to him.

After.
One week later.

A middle-aged woman and man, along with the boy who had once knocked a door down, walked in to a house.

“Ilene, we’re back!” called the man, shrugging off his suit jacket with ease.
There was no response.

“Ilene?” asked the woman, tone loud.
Still no response. The house was deathly silent.

“Will, go check on your sister,” said the man, his tone without worry.
The boy was very worried, though.

He tore up the stairs, still full of youth and burning energy, even at the age of 21.
He stumbled across the hallway, and stopped at a door.

It was emblazoned with streamers and photographs, most taken from what looked like a Polaroid camera. These pictures were mainly of a girl, with unruly copper curls, and a boy with dusty brown hair.
There hadn’t been so many last week.
God, he missed Harry.

“Ilene?” the boy asked, pushing at the door.
The room was empty, the bathroom door shut.

“Ilene?” he repeated, fear coiling, freezing in his stomach, as he slid over to the bathroom door. He grasped the handle gingerly, as if he was opening the door that revealed Heaven and Hell.

"Ilene?" he whispered, for the last time.
Thunderstruck, he opened the door.

As strong as you were, tender you go.
I'm watching you breathing for the last time.
A song for your heart, but when it is quiet,
I know what it means and I'll carry you home.
I'll carry you home.

The End

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