Neon Gray

Ripper and Alex. Alex and Ripper. That's the way its always been. Of course, Alex is changing, wanting her own things in life. Ripper however, refuses to move on from their intwined lives and struggles to cope with independence.
Then suddenly, Ripper disappears.
There's rumours he is dead. There's rumours he's addicted to drugs. And then there's the rumour he's just plain vanished.
Alex is heartbroken. She thought she could live without Ripper. Her dad hadn't liked her being so close to a boy and wanted her to get some more girl friends. But then, Alex stumbles upon a sickening discovery.
Ripper has changed in a way which is against every law of normal.

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3. That hurts far too much. It can't be real.

 

   Once, a while ago, Ripper had tried to kill himself. I hated going back to that time but sometimes, subconsciously, my mind just slipped back to those dark memories. I knew that it was me who’d prevented him from suicide, who’d made sure he was still here today.

   The cotton sleeve of Ripper’s t-shirt rode up, revealing long, thick, crusted scars.

   I shoved the plate away from me. Jake looked up at me through his hair. His fringe was getting too long—I’m surprised it didn’t affect his playing.

   “You gonna eat that?” He mumbled through a mouthful of food. I grimaced and pushed the plate nearer him. He grinned and scooped all the lasagne off my plate and onto his. I earned a disapproving look from my mother.

   She leant forwards, balancing her elbows delicately on the table. “Alex, what’s up? Ever since we got home, you’ve been looking like you’re in a different world.”

   I breathed it but the action was jagged and broken—

   He tugged the sleeve back down, his face pained. I gasped, yanking the cotton up. I trailed my fingers over the scars.

   “Did you not hear?” I growled, my voice deep and croaky. “Where you not listening to the radio?”

   I met my mother’s eyes. Confusion shone bright from within them.

   “Nope. I mean, I don’t think we did. Did we Jake?”

    Jake shrugged, muttering, once more, with food in his mouth. “Dunno. Don’t think so.”

   Mum winced, slapping Jake’s arm with the back of her hand. He chuckled, shovelling more creamy pasta into his mouth. She sighed, rolling her eyes until they rested back upon me.

   “What do you mean?”

    The knife pressed in more by an inch. Slowly pressing in, deeper and deeper until it ripped me apart.

   “It’s nothing,” He growled. I backed off, my hands dropping to my sides.

    “We were watching the news,” I whispered, looking down at my hands. “There was a report about a missing boy.”

   “Oh, god, Alex. You aren’t getting all sentimental on me, are you? You can’t get upset at every single story about a missing person you hear about~”

   “It was Ripper, Mum!” I stood so quickly that my head spun. I grabbed my unused cutlery and sunk the fork and knife into the wall. I heard Mum gasp behind me. The plaster crumbled, coating my fingers in a light grey dust. The molecules spun into the air. I watched them with a slight fascination.

   “Alex!” Mum wrenched the knife and fork out of the wall, only tearing out more of her wall. She screamed, desperately trying to press the gaping edges back together. My eye twitched. My ears suddenly dulled, leaving me with a humming in my head. I swallowed, groggily pressing a hand to my eyes.

   “No big deal,” Ripper breathed. I reached out, wrapping my hand in his. He didn’t try to pull away but my mind kept showing me the scars again and again.

   Hands on the tops of my shoulders. Shouting in my face. I didn’t even flinch as she brought a hand across my face. I felt the burning of my cheek, sure, but I couldn’t react. My body was a statue, incapable of movement.

   “Are you even listening to me!?” Mum screamed. She shook me so hard that my head clicked. I sighed. I pushed her off me gently. She stumbled backwards, trying to make it more dramatic. I shook my head at her, tears bursting from my eyes. Turning, I grabbed my hoodie from the sofa. I zipped it up, yanking the hood up and disappeared out the front door. As I made my way down the front path, I frantically wiped the tears off my face, my cheek still flaming. I tenderly pressed against the burning skin.

   He pulled me gently into a hug. We sat in the bath, fully clothed, just...sitting. The bloodied razor sat on the side of the bath, coated in red. I couldn’t look at it. I nuzzled my head into the crook of Ripper’s neck. He murmured sweet nothings, stroking my hair softly. I cried into his shirt, the damp material sticking to my cheek.

   I fished in my hoodie pocket for my earphones. I got my IPhone out, unlocking it and putting on the loudest music I could find. Something Jake had put on. I jammed the buds in, the volume at its highest. More tears fell. I stared at the ground, not watching where I was going. The pavement suddenly ran out, leaving me with tar underneath my feet. I frowned, my mind too damaged to remember why I shouldn’t be on tar.

   The car hit me, reminding me why I shouldn’t be on tar.

   The impact of the car bumper smashed into my side. My body caved in sideways. I heard the sickening crunch of bone as I toppled to the ground, my earphones still in.

    I’ve found the cure to growing older.

   But you’re the only place that feels like...home.

   The lyrics pounded in my head. I might have screamed out but I didn’t wait for the noise to stop before I started dragging myself. My left side burst into new waves of pain at each movement but I knew I had to get away from here. I knew I had to go. Over the thuds of my music, I heard vague calls of someone who didn’t care. I didn’t answer, clawing my way onto the pavement. Somehow, I managed to get to my feet. I blamed it on the adrenaline—it must have still been running through my veins. It must have given me the motivation to move. I stumbled in the blackness. The pavement under my feet, once more, disappeared but this time it was replaced by crumbly dirt. I collapsed, finally out of sight. My hand fisted in the dirt, the powdery stuff fixing itself under my nails.

   The name fell from my lips before I could stop it.

   “Ripper,” I groaned. My face fell into the dirt and I started inhaling the woody, musky smell. I heard the rustle of trees above me and decided I was in a forest, or a wood.

   The adrenaline ran out.

   Waves—no, tsunamis—of pain washed over my body, pulling me into the blackness again and again. Each time I wished it would swallow me but it kept spitting me out again, just to repeat the process. My screams were muffled into the dirt as I writhed in pain. My hand pressed to my side, coming away dark and wet. I was speechless. This couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t be in a forest after being hit by a car after learning my best friend had gone missing.

   It was happening.

   The damn ear buds stubbornly remained in my ears.

   Don’t wanna be an American idiot,

   One nation controlled by the media.

   Despite the pain, I groaned. Now was not the time for Green Day. My clean hand slid into my pocket and yanked the wire out of my IPhone. The noise thudding in my ears stopped and I was replaced by silence. Well, almost silence. The shrieks still echoed in the empty forest. My groans still blossomed into full blown shouts.

   I don’t know how long I stayed there. I don’t know how long it was until I began to think straight. The pain didn’t disappear. It didn’t get any easier to cope with. I just thought of other things. My fingers closed around something rectangular and hard. My phone! I pulled it out from under my body. The bright screen blinded me—I’d grown used to the darkness. I juddered with convulsions as I tried to speed dial my mother. It was impossible. I couldn’t even dial 999. The only speed dial number that let my finger stay still long enough was Ripper’s and I knew it was pointless dialling him.

   I curled up and hoped to die.

   The forest got even darker, if that was possible. My side screamed at me and I was positive there were broken bones. There was certainly blood; I had proof to back that up. My eyelids fluttered. The knife in my stomach jammed in even harder, making me squeal. The pain of losing Ripper by far overshadowed the pain of the accident. If that was even possible.

   To me that was. 

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