With each pulse of the music I stagger-stumble down the hall. My fingers drag along the wall, the peeling wallpaper―yellowed and faded―catches under my nails. It flakes and falls to the floor. I pause when the room spins and blackness creeps around the edges of my vision. Closing my eyes, I try to focus on the lub-dub thud of my sluggish heartbeat. Its dull pulse rattles in my ears and my eyes sting for no reason at all.

That's not true. I know the reason.

He's right down the hall.

He's the gasoline that slithers across the floor. He's the flint that will ignite the flame. He's the breath on my skin, spreading his hypnotic scent until the hallucinations turn his lies into truth. He's destruction and death.

My death.

Yet I stand in the pyre, arms open wide, letting him douse me in poison and burn me alive.

Tongue thick, I swallow back bile. My grip tightens around the bottle in my hand and I pull in a shallow breath. Pills swim through my blood, chasing oblivion and seeking refuge where none can be found. I have to leave. I have to mean it this time.

Stagger-stumble-step. Leaded feet rise and fall, unsteady and hesitant. It's his laugh I hear first. Low and melodic, dark and possessive, yet somehow hollow. Empty. Lost and alone. Just like me.


I tremble when he speaks. His voice rolls across the room like a fog, swallowing me in haze of lust and longing. For a split second, I hesitate. I revel in the warmth that surrounds me. Blurry and clouded, my gaze sweeps across the room to where he sits. He's drunk and high. Disconnected and disjointed.


I look into his eyes, and I see it. The emptiness. The desire for a connection lost somewhere between cocaine binges and broken hearts. The impulse to hang on to what's familiar. What's left of a life that's become nothing more than a lie. A countdown until the lights flicker and fade and the world goes dark. Before we rot in wooden boxes or float away on the wind and scatter the ashes of our bodies into the open air.

"I wanna go home." My voice sounds off. I'm underwater, sinking to the bottom of nothingness as each gasping breath floods my lungs with water. I don't have the energy to fight it. I don't know that I'd bother if I did.

"You are home." There's an edge to his tone. He's agitated. But he's wrong. This isn't home. Not for me. Not for him. We don't have a real home, not in the way that matters. Not anymore.

"Baby, please. I'm tired." Pleading will do me no good. I know this.

"Then sleep. Here. I really shouldn't be driving anyway. We might get into an accident."

My eyes prick with tears. Heartache and loneliness swell and crest over me. I see the hatred he tries so hard to hide. The complete disdain he has for me. It's the only emotion that shows anymore. The only one strong enough to break through the haze of drugs he buries himself in. The same one I bury myself in. The one that will eventually kill us both. Maybe that's our fate. Our punishment for what we did to them.

No. Not we. Me. What I did. And even though he's here, warm and breathing, I did it to him as well. Would an accident really be so bad? An end to all the pain and misery.

His thumb sweeps across my cheek and I pull in a weak, shuddering breath. He sways and his eyes drop to the teardrop slipping down his thumb. I'm surprised he was able to walk. I'm even more surprised that he bothered. "I'm sorry, baby. Please don't cry. Let me make you feel better."

Using his fingertips, he coaxes my lips apart. Bitterness coats my tongue for only a second before he lifts his drink and pours the oak-flavored liquor into my mouth. I swallow and sway. I've had too much, but he doesn't care and in a short while, neither will I. As the walls around me melt into blackness and the voices dull my only wish is that I could go back, that we could go back. Back to the time before it all fell apart.

Hi. Long time no angst. This won't be crazy long, but I can't promise when I'll update. As many of you know I'm working on my second book and gahhhh LIFE! But, it will complete just like all my stories do. Also, you're more than welcome to blame Nerdy for me posting this. She's a pushing pusher who pushes. She also has a new story called Push. Coincidence? I THINK NOT! See ya on the next one.