Another extract from the first part of book 5. It’s still in its first draft, but I’m pretty happy with it. It’s hard to fight an enemy that’s become part of someone you love.
CONTENT WARNING: This scene contains self-harm.
Caleb was in the lounge, sitting beneath the window in a puddle of glass and blood. His black hair was wet with it. Rusty red streaks had dripped and dried on his chest, his arms and his cheeks. His abandoned t-shirt crouched at the edge of the puddle, sucking like an animal.
“Jesus, Caleb,” said Daniel, squatting down in front of him, his boots grinding the glass into dust. “What the fuck are you doing to yourself?”
Caleb didn’t even look up. He drove a shard of glass into his palm, then pulled it out again, letting the blood drip onto the floor. And when the wound healed, he did it again. And again.
Albert and Daniel exchanged a look and I stepped back. They each grabbed one of Caleb’s arms and hauled him upright. His eyes were dead. His mouth flatlined. He crushed the glass in his fist.
“Can you get rid of the glass, Violet?” said Daniel, as he held Caleb against the wall.
I peeled his fingers away and the shard hit the floor. He seemed to notice us then. His head rolled back and his eyes blazed with something wild and untameable. Sobs tore up his throat, shoving past his gritted teeth. He pistoned his shoulders into the wall, trying to shake Daniel and Albert loose. While they struggled to keep him still, he threw his head forward and nutted Albert, knocking him on his butt. I rammed my head under Caleb’s chin, then dug my right shoulder into his chest, and wrapped both my hands around his wrist. He wriggled, but he wasn’t going anywhere. He tried to kick, but I stomped on his foot.
Daniel grabbed my shoulder and the world blinked. The three of us landed in the bath. It felt like an ugly poem. We pushed Caleb down, smearing blood across the tiles. I sat on him, pinning his arms with my knees, while Daniel stepped out and turned on the shower above Caleb’s head. He spluttered beneath the spray, shaking his head from side to side, as his legs cycled furiously behind me. When he tried to buck me off, I grabbed his throat and squeezed. He went still. His face was hopeless. The sadness in his eyes carved its way into my chest, hollowing it out so that every heartbeat felt raw and unloved.
“Pins and needles,” he whispered, wriggling his fingers beneath my shins.
“If you try anything funny, Caleb, I swear I’ll murder you,” said Daniel.
I rocked back a bit, releasing Caleb’s hands. He gave them a shake then ran them through his dripping hair. Together we washed the blood away. I laid down, resting my head next to Caleb’s, letting the water cool me down. It was too damn hot anyway. He wrapped his arms around me, and Daniel sighed. Then he wandered off to perch on the toilet.
“It’s not even lunchtime, Caleb,” I whispered, rubbing the last of the blood from his hair. “What time did you start drinking?”
“Before I got up. It’s the only way.”
His voice was ragged with whiskey burn.
“It’s not the only way. I’ll find you a better one.”
“You can’t fix everything, angel.”
“I can fix you.”
“I’m not broken, I’m dead.”
“That’s the exact opposite of what you are.”
“Do you have to argue?”
“Do you have to ask?”
He chuckled into my hair. “I didn’t drink all that much today.”
“You were unresponsive, Caleb. You were making holes in yourself.”
“I know. I was trying to go somewhere else.”
“Where were you trying to go?”
“I don’t know. Some place where nobody expects me to hold on. Where I can get washed away in peace.”