One week since I found my dad. Alive.
Since I realized I was a Collector.
I collected the soul of the guy I loved.
Not much changed in seven days. I was unconscious for the first four. I'd spent the next three wishing I was comatose with no such luck. Everyone walked around on pins and needles thinking I'd lose it. They hadn't figured out I was already gone. Emotions beat the crap out of me a week ago, ditched me, and left darkness in their wake.
The Watchers would come for me because my blood was a commodity to Ez. I'm a freaking pawn, and I'm sick of my life being on everyone elses terms. I'm his weapon against the Guardians, threatening their lives with the power I possess to collect souls. The Guardians wanted to keep me in this small square crazy box they tried to pass as a room, and it felt more like a cell as the seconds ticked by in my mind. Their reason? To ensure I wouldn't hurt anyone on accident.
My impending death grows daily. None except the healers are allowed in my room which only abates my sanity. I needed to talk to Jesse, but he wasn't there. Our connection severed the moment his soul was in my possession. My light, my very being, snapped; I can't feel him any more.
Because I killed him.
No matter how many times I repeated those words and knew their truth, they played like a movie on repeat in my brain. I felt the cold concrete under my legs, saw myself bent over Jesse's limp frame knowing I was the cause.
My soul was fractured beyond repair, much like a once extraordinary vase someone took in their hands, raised above their head, only to let go, watching gravity unleash destruction. I spiraled down in the same way, and crashed into a million pieces. No matter who tries to glue the jagged shards back together, a fragmented vase would perpetually be a shell of its former self.
I'm a shell of my former self.
Panic attacks woke me every time I slept. Screams clawed their way up my throat, never releasing the torture stuck inside. Then darkness came. It wrapped around me as a familiar old blanket comforting me, but my mind wouldn't forget. I accepted each individual punishment my body dealt out. The healers tried to force medication down my throat with the promise of relaxation and sleep, but I refused.
I killed him. I don't deserve any consolation.
My dad vacillated between begging me to get a hold of myself, and threatening to send me away if I couldn't snap out of the dark hole I'd gladly slipped into. When he came in my room I either pretended to be asleep or sat unresponsively staring at the wall. I was extremely glad he was alive, but I needed time. And onyx shadows.
Darkness brings solace.
I heard dad and the healers talking outside my room daily, wondering what else they could do for me. Listening to the same crap every day knowing they'd never come up with anything to help me was tedious.
Today felt different. A familiar luminescent energy reached for my own, and I lay back in the bed closing my eyes. My muscles didn't relax completely, but the darkness caressing my skin was pushed away. It had been an excruciatingly long time since I felt relief from the torment ricocheting inside my head.
Cam is here.
The door opened slowly letting a sliver of light from outside gradually stretch the length of the room. I didn't want the light to touch me, it was a trader. It wouldn't help me save Jesse so why would I welcome it back into my life now?
Cam took my hand as his fingers laced with mine brushing the ring he gave me with his life essence swirling inside the stone. It might be the single thing keeping me sane and marginally blocking the effects of the darkness threatening to drown me.
As his fingertips languidly ran up and down my arm I felt the shadows around me uncoil. For the first time in the three days I'd been sentient I felt like breathing again. Cam slid one arm under my bare, prone legs behind my knees, and the other behind my back. Heat radiated off him permeating my thin camisole, and the ease with which Cam maneuvered me over to one side of the bed was alarming.
I couldn't open my eyes. They were heavy with the weight of sleeplessness, heartache, and tears. Cam positioned me on his chest wrapping his arms around me, and at that moment I realized how cold my skin had grown when pressed against the warmth of him. “I'm here, Ari. I'll never leave you,” sweet whispers filled my ears as Cam dropped feather light kisses along my temple and forehead. “God, Ari...just let go. Let me help you.” The strain in Cam's voice was evident.
My body made the decision my brain wouldn't, and I slipped into a peaceful sleep while Cam's light, his heart and soul, tried to put me back together. But the darkness inside me was stronger now and it wouldn't give up without a fight.
© Heather Wiginton October 2013