Bella Morte

"I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more." —Franz Kafka



7. faire disparaître

Again, I don’t see my mother for another few days—but this time, I’m not sure if it’s because she’s working to keep our family afloat or because she can’t face me anymore. Either way, I feel hollow inside as the hours tick away as I stare at the falling snowflakes outside of my window. I can’t even bring myself to get up to go smoke.

Mortimer is making me sick, somehow finding his entertainment in scaring Samuel more than necessary. I lost count of how many times Samuel has flatlined in one week after three because Mortimer won’t stop. I can’t find the energy to tell him to stop, either. I don’t really care anymore. I know I should, but I don’t have the physical nor mental energy to care about anything really. The nurse has asked me four times (I counted) if I need someone to talk to because I’ve become unresponsive to her chitchat she feels obligated to make as she’s stabbing me with needles.

Samuel still decides to come to my room, even though I’ve made it clear that I really wish he didn’t. He likes to talk—way more than I like to listen—about pointless things. (“I volunteered here once when I was fourteen. I met a lot of great people, but they were such downers. I don’t want to be like that.”)

Another thing I’ve noticed in the week that passes without my mother is that Mortimer has taken a strange liking to touching me—touching my bare skin with his ungloved fingertips. He likes to trace the veins in my wrist underneath my translucent skin as if he’s tracing the roads of a map. His touch makes me want to scratch at my skin desperately because he simply ghosts his fingers over the inside of my wrist, over skin that’s too sensitive for a delicate touch like that. It’s slowly starting to annoy me because he grips tighter when I try to pull away.

“Kerra, darling,” my nurse starts. You would think I would be used to the way a needle feels piercing into my already bruised arm, but I still cringe as I feel it. “Are you sure you don’t need to talk to someone?”

Fifth time.

“I’m positive,” I say. Even my own voice sounds foreign to my ears, hollow and emotionless like Mortimer’s. I should loathe it so much that it makes my stomach churn but I’m not sure if I feel anything inside anymore.

She nods, but I can tell by the look on her face that she doesn’t believe me. At some point, she’s going to get a shrink in my room to talk to me, whether I want one or not. I don’t want one—I’ve never wanted one. Not even when I was thirteen and my brother tried to commit suicide in front of me because he didn’t know I was there. I dealt with that. Now I have to deal with my own desires to die rather than my older brother’s.

The nurse leaves with her platter of syringes and closes the door behind her gently, giving me a soft smile before she turns around completely. The last thing I see of her is the horrendous coral color of her scrubs. Mortimer seemingly appears at the same time she leaves, sitting on the edge of my bed.

He doesn’t say a word to me as he pulls his gloves off and sets them on my lap casually. I stare at the black leather so long that they start to feel heavy on my thighs, making it feel as if I’m slowly sinking deeper into the hard bed. So I pick them up and hurriedly toss them on the table next to the bed. Mortimer stands to walk to the window, twisting his fingers together behind his back like he always does.

An oddly comfortable—but still eerie—silence falls between us, his gray eyes fixated on the frozen flakes falling from the sky. I want to say something because I feel as if he’s waiting for me to open my mouth and speak, but nothing comes out when I part my lips so I press them back together tightly. It’s a rather depressive silence, truthfully. It’s satisfyingly quiet but it’s leaving me alone to maul over my thoughts and the way my chest aches.

Mortimer doesn’t seem too bothered as he watches the snowflakes in a fascinated daze. Again, I look around the room as if I’m going to find some way to make it all go away—make Mortimer go away. I consider the window again, but it’s the seventh time that I have and I know I don’t have the courage to do it.

“You shouldn’t think such morbid thoughts,” he says. His voice makes me jump, the haunting echo bouncing off the walls to hit my ears once more. I look over at him. Mortimer’s eyes are still focused on the things beyond the glass but his head is tilted in what could be taken as childlike curiosity. “Every day, about a hundred people or even more consider ways to commit suicide in this hospital. Everyone considers the window, but none have the courage.”

I say nothing.

I let Mortimer trace the blue veins underneath my translucent skin on the inside of my wrists again. Because somewhere in between the first and last time he did it, I became addicted to his cold fingers and the way his gentle touch made my fingers twitch. It made me sick to my stomach.

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