Drowning Lessons

[This is a re-written, edited version of Drowning Lessons. Yup. Literally just that.] There's a trick to building yourself back together. Sam mastered it long ago, and now he's got to try and teach his best friend the same thing. Brandon is sinking fast, and all Sam can do is try to teach him to swim.


1. Prologue

​Dear future self;

(For the record, Sam, this is a stupid idea. A really, really stupid idea. And yes, I know that you're going to be reading this even though you promised that you wouldn't- I saw you crossing your fingers behind your back, okay?- but seriously, I don't see how this is going to help. I'm pretty sure that you're clutching at straws by now.)


I'm an idiot. Or you're an idiot, I'm not too sure how this works. Either way, I- ​you- messed up, didn't you? You really, really messed up. And look how well it's all turned out, huh? Everything's gone to hell. Congratulations, really, ten points to Gryffindor.

Sam's an idiot for thinking that he can help somehow too, although that's really my fault for actually involving him in the first place, I guess. I've probably doomed us both, or something, and the door's going to get blown down some day and it's either going to be the police or them that come charging through door. Either way, that's not going to end well for either of us.


(Sam, stop looking over my shoulder. And stop telling me to stop being so pessimistic, because I'm not. This is realism. There's a difference.)


I still don't think that this letter is going to help in any way. Who knows- maybe it won't burn away the final strings of sanity that I'm hanging from. I keep trying to hold onto them- God, I'm trying so hard- but they're choking me, like a noose, or they're ripping my apart. Like that medieval piece of torture equipment- where you're attached to a wooden frame by your wrists and ankles and slowly pulled apart. I feel like that's happening to me right now, and I'm just waiting to break again.

I'm going to break sometime, I know it, and then there'll be nothing left of me to save. 

God, this all sounds so pretentious. I think if the old me were to read this, then he'd laugh. And then probably try to hit me, because he was an asshat and that would be the exact kind of thing he'd do.

It's weird though, because even though Old Me from months ago had no idea what he was going to do with his life, nor how he was actually going to afford the next year of university without throwing himself into crippling debt for the rest of existence, I'd probably still switch places with that version in a heartbeat. At least then I wouldn't be crashing out on Sam's every night for the last month. And I wouldn't be a dead man walking either.


(Sam's saying I need to address my future self a bit more rather than talking about what I'm 'going through' at the moment. If I do that, then it will 'fill me with hope for the future'.

I'm trying very hard not to laugh in his face right now.)


But here goes:

Dear future self;

I hope you're better. That you've managed to clutch at some fragments of your old life and patched them back together with enough duct tape for you to be trusted to walk outside by yourself. To be completely honest, I'll be incredibly surprised if I'm still alive to reach future me: incredibly surprised if I haven't snapped and killed both myself and Sam and probably anyone within a one-mile radius in some bizarre, sensual, bloody slaughter show.

But anyway, in the mind-blowingly unlikely event you're actually still alive, I hope you're even partway back to normal. I'd like you to be happy, but I can't even remember what being happy was like, so that's probably a big ask.
There was that one time... that one afternoon... but if you're still as broken, as destroyed as I am right now, then don't even think about it. I don't, even now, because now that I've admitted (again) to myself that it really did happen, I can feel the memory creeping up on me... about to strike, leap up, knock me down and tear me apart from the inside out, like the lionesses I saw on TV ages ago. Hungry for blood. My blood. Because I've tried to think about other times, good times, and they've all warped, like old camera film that's been left out too long in the sun. Everything's drowning in red now; faces, places, people, words... all coated in a thick skin of blood that can't be removed. 

Haha, I'm so messed up. I swear that the old me would probably laugh if he saw me now. Laugh and then try to beat me up, of course.

And one more thing, future me: if, somehow, some group of super-scientists manage to create a machine that really can take people back in time, or if Doctor Who pops round and offers you a ride, then do it. Goddamn do it, and go back in time before this all happened and stay inside your dorm room. Don't ever go out, complain to Sam abouGlue your feet to the floor or super-glue yourself to your bed, whatever it takes. Just don't go, okay? No matter what could have happened... the good things that occur are about as great as being given a lollipop at your parents' funerals. 

So don't go out. Just don't. Because it gets bad. It gets real freaking bad. 

But if you made it, congratulations! Bake yourself a cake and decorate it with chocolate icing and sprinkles some Smarties on top. If you haven't killed Sam, then share it with him. 

I hope you haven't killed Sam. He doesn't deserve it. It's nearly destroyed him-all this evil, sadistic madness bubbling a bloody scarlet like boiling water inside  of me. He doesn't deserve this; he's the only one who's believed in me, who's kept me hanging onto these final threads of sanity. I don't know why he's stayed around when he would have been so much better without me around. He could have had a life, for one. He's sacrificed so much. 

I really hope you haven't killed him, but thinking about what I'm like right now, I have to say I won't be surprised if you have. 

But anyway, if you, future me, are alive- and more importantly sane- then I'm proud of you. And if you're even slightly happy, then make two cakes and eat them both. 

And if you're not... well, then I guess this letter is nothing but just another blackened fragment of a monster, a broken man twisted and burnt beyond recognition...


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