Chrysanthemum George (otherwise known as Chrys) is drowning in a world of self-harm, suicide and dark thoughts. Recovery has never been her plan but when a new face arrives on the scene will Chrys have any choice in the matter? A story about the darkness eating at a generation and the difficult route out of it.


10. Chapter 3, Part 2

“Chrys?” A muffled voice asks.

I stand up, leaving my duvet on the floor but remembering to kick the box and frame back under my bed in the process before padding over to my door. Two hazel eyes gleam in the darkness, the dim lights from the hallway behind him casting a warm glow over his ebony skin.

“Tomas, what are you doing up?” I whisper, the smile on my face contradicting the mock severity in my voice.

He doesn’t reply but instead hunkers down in my doorway with the duvet piling up around him in such a way that had we been underwater I wouldn’t have thought twice as dismissing him as a sea anemone with its tendrils tucked in. Yet, we aren’t underwater and he isn’t an anemone.

Instead of sitting down with him straight away I tiptoe back over to my duvet and drag it across the floor to the doorway too. I tuck myself in under it and as gently as possible, pull Tomas closer so that his head is on my stomach and my left arm drapes across his chest where he clutches at it like it’s a lifeline. I pull my feet up closer so I can fit in the doorway with him and finally, both of us nestled in a makeshift nest of duvets and tangled limbs, he finally speaks.

“I had a dream about my sister.” He murmurs.

I stiffen reflexively, my hands tightening their hold around him and my spare hand reaching up to stroke the springy curls of his hair.

“Do you want to talk about it? I ask.

“She was screaming again. Screaming and choking…And there was smoke and it was burning again and then-then she stopped screaming.” He whimpered.

His body trembled and for a second I expected him to cry out and for Jen to come running as all the doors opened and people poured out to see what all the kerfuffle was about, but he didn’t. He turned on his side and turned his expectant face up to my own, the light from the hall only lightly caressing the faded scar that dappled his right cheek, right near the jaw. There were no tears on his face though his eyes glinted with the remnants of them. Without any prompting I pulled him further up onto my lap so that I could wrap my hands around his skinny, boyish frame and pull him close.

“Do you know how we know you’re okay though, Tomas?” I ask, smiling gently.

“How?” His face open, curious turned towards mine, his eyes widening fractionally.

“You don’t smell of smoke. You smell of lavender, mint…And is that white chocolate cookie I smell on you, Mister?” I ask, incredulous and entertained.

His eyes widen dramatically and in attempt to escape he begins to wriggle out from under the duvet out from the room, but too slow because my hands come down on his stomach where they tickle him mercilessly, muffled and duvet-smothered giggles escaping from his mouth in a torrent of happiness. Finally, he peeks out from under the duvet, and pulling my arm once more across his chest, our fingers interlocked and his head once again on my stomach, we fall asleep in the doorway with only the faint light from hallway to show where we are.

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