Is this a dream or are you really here? As long as I can feel you I don’t really care.
Would you change something, anything, in your past given a chance? Could you deal with the consequences of that one decision? Could anyone?
Black ink and B2 pencil base with black, white, and grey charcoal (textured over a copper board). Highlights done in white ink (bleached not synthetic).
Chronologically, this is the fifth chapter, but three of those are marked as introduction. It’s less confusing in the manuscript, but in this post-style format it’s worth mentioning.
Casey wakes up after the catastrophic events of the night before, and her memory is gone. This, for now, is probably a blessing, as the truth is much worse than she suspects.
You can start at the beginning here, if you so choose: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/third-degree-part-1/
A Long Way Back
November 1st 2018
Everything hurts so damn much. It’s cold. Where…Where am I? What happened last night? Casey rolled right, blinking rapidly to un-blur her dry vision. A sea of violent greens and mountainous browns focused into a sharp anxiety, as Casey registered where she was, and more importantly; where she was not. How did I get to the dump? God that smell. Groaning, she attempted to push her knees under her slight frame, and failed. My stomach…It feels like I got shot, like there’s a hole in my abdomen. She rolled onto her back and examined herself. Where are my fucking clothes! She wore nothing but athletic shorts and her white bra, the strapless one she liked. Sighing in frustration she leaned her head back, looking to the overcast sky. Wait…It’s cloudy but the sun is up. Fuck! Mom is going to flay me alive!
Scrambling, Casey searched for her phone. Why is it not in my pockets, what the fuck! She looked around frantically, desperately searching for her hand-held salvation. There! About five feet to her right lay her phone, damp in the dew-lidden grass. Still sore, she opted to crawl instead of try to stand again. Grunting in effort, she reached the phone and held it to her face. Why is it cracked? What’s going on! I just got this for my birthday last month too. The phone unlocked with a satisfying ‘click’, recognizing her face. At least it still works.
Dreading what lay in wait, Casey tapped the ‘Messages+’ application. Okay. Thirty-seven texts from Mom, eight texts from Matt, two from Ally, and a message from an unknown number. That could have been worse, I guess. She tapped the frame that read ‘Mom <3’ and her heart fell into her stomach. Shit, she’s worried sick. I really fucked up. Why did I go to that stupid party? Quickly, she tapped the ’info’ button in the top right of the phone before pressing ‘Call this number’. Frightened from guilt and confusion, she brought the cracked phone to her ear and listened.
“Casey! Where are you sweetie?!” her mother half-shouted. She froze in anxiety, like a deer staring at her oncoming demise. “Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter, sweetie. Please! Just say something so I know your alive!” Why isn’t she mad? I’ve never heard her like this…
Casey opened her mouth and tried to apologize, but all that came out was a mortified, “Uh…”
“What’s wrong, Casey?!” asked her mom, shouting again.
“I’m okay, I think. I just…I woke up out here and it hurts…and…” answered Casey, pausing as everything caught up with her. “I don’t know how I got here, mom. I think something bad happened but I can’t remember anythi–“ Casey choked on the last word as anxious tears overwhelmed her. Everything’s spinning out of control.
Panicked, her mom cut in, “Please sweetie, don’t cry, it’s going to be just fine, you’ll see. Please tell me where you are so I can come get you. Do you know where you are?”
Struggling to speak over the viscous dread rapidly metastasizing, Casey choked, “I’m out b…by the old dump. The one a mile out from Apple-Creek farms, that w…wealthy neighborhood.”
Voice cracking, her mom replied, “Okay. I’m coming, stay where you are, sweetie, it’ll be okay.”
Thanks for reading!
More coming soon.
Yeah, okay, I get it. I hope you find someone who helps you love yourself as much as I loved you.
Had to take another day off because of school, work, and volunteering. This chapter kicks off Act 2 as we find out what happened to the drunk driver. It’s a very symbolic chapter, in that we see Simon outside of his happy-go-lucky state. He’s descending.
February 22nd, 2017-Simon
The funeral had been a quiet affair. Simon’s extended family had come to Adams funeral, leaving for their respective states a day or two later. They were all so, terribly sorry they couldn’t make the trip again, not for Hadley. The excuses had all been the same, I can’t take off work, I can’t afford another plane, can’t you have it closer to us? Each call, each message, had reinforced the icy fire, a brutal tyrant reigning over Simon’s esophageal cavity. The ice festered outside the tyrant’s region, pulling its tentacles into every part of his being, erasing any emotion that previously resided. The fire, well the fire never left his throat. It burned, slowly consuming his soul, his thoughts, his mind.
Simon stood, alone, over Hadley’s open casket. He wanted to cry, he couldn’t, not anymore. She’d left him, sparking an ever-growing void inside of him, a void, that was winning. Softly, Simon asked, “Is this what you felt when Adam died, Hadley? Is this why you did it?” Moving closer, Simon took her right hand in his, turning it over, examining the scar. “You know, they really did try to clean you up, but you didn’t want that, did you? You needed to do something, anything, in retaliation for what had happened to Adam. You needed to send a message, I’m sorry I never listened, never understood. But I do now. You see, I need to do something too.” Leaning down, Simon brushed her cold cheek, softly kissing her ice-dead-lips before standing back up. “I’ll make him pay, for Adam, for you. I’ll make things right, no matter what.”
Simon closed Hadley’s casket. For a moment, he stood there, letting the fire deepen its roots. Simon turned towards the small mausoleums entrance, and walked. This…hate. I’ll use it to make things right. Simon nodded to the short coroner, signaling Hadley’s decent into the cruel and murky earth. As Simon walked toward his black McLaren, he flipped open his family phone. There was a new voice-mail from his brother, Tom. The verdict of the Bud Clifton trial was set to be reached this morning. Chest tightening, Simon pressed play, and listened.
Tom’s sullen voice played over the phones small speaker “Simon, not great news. They hit Clifton with the DUI and revoked his license, but the jury bought the defenses argument. Their claiming that Adam must have been in his car seat incorrectly, the way it flew forward.” The fire raged, pulsating like a malignant tumor that’s found its way into the lymph, fraying Simon’s nerves. “They used Gia’s survival against us. He’s not going to prison, Simon. They’re going to let him off. I don’t understand it. I’m sorry.” The fire, metastasized, consuming Simon, utterly. Immolating, Simon roared, throwing the phone into his car. World turned red, he punched the passenger side window of his McLaren, shattering it. His hand bled, but the ice numbed the pain. It was nothing, not compared to the blaze.
A voice whispered, we need to take matters into our own hands, the court is useless.
Another voice chimed in, let’s hurt him, bad, like he hurt Hadley. Let’s kill him, like he killed Adam!
A chorus of voices, now, we need to isolate him, torture him, hurt him like he hurt us, we will teach him that actions have consequences, choices have meaning, teach him what pain is.
Feeling empowered, Simon walked around the front of his car, opened the door and got in. Flatly, Simon whispered, “Bud Clifton, I find you guilty of murdering my son, and driving the one person I loved more than life to suicide.” Simon turned the ignition, and sped out of the parking lot, tires screeching as drifted right onto the county highway. “May whatever god you put your faith in have mercy on you, because I won’t.” The voices egged him on, feeding the vindictive, sullied, blaze.