A/N: I was listening to The Last Night by Skillet, and it sort of inspired me for this fic…
This one-shot is dedicated to all those people out there who are just like me; the people who've battled depression, abuse, self-injury, and suicide. God be with you.
You come to me
With scars on your wrist
You tell me this will be the last night
Feeling like this
-Skillet; The Last Night
A short, thin girl of age eighteen was on her knees in the corner of a dark room—her room. It was like a box. There were windows, but her parents had had them welded shut the last time she'd tried to escape. Her door was always locked from the outside. There was nothing in the room, not even a pillow and blanket for a makeshift bed. It was just her… and her knife.
She heard footsteps in the hall. Alice looked up and wiped her eyes. Black stains from her eyeliner marked her fingers. She lifted a loose floorboard, stuck the knife under there, and stood deliberately on top of it.
Alice straightened and smoothed out her rags—I mean, her dress—and hair. Whoever it was would be expecting to see her looking presentable. She folded her hands behind her back, hoping her wrists wouldn't stain the fabric of her clothing.
A girl no taller than her barged into the room. Alice sighed—Cynthia, of course. Cynthia was her parents' golden child. As far as they were concerned, Alice was just a burden given to them by the devil. This caused her to be heavily abused and neglected. No one knew how many times Alice had asked the universe for death. Though she wouldn't realize it half the time, when she'd go on errands, she'd ask cashiers or random passing people to kill her.
"ALICE!" Cynthia screamed, running up to her. "Dad is angry with you." Cynthia sounded pleased. Of course she did—making their father angry with Alice was her favorite pastime.
"He wants to see you in the kitchen," she continued airily, before cackling like the wicked little witch she was and skipping out of the room.
Though no one who saw Alice would think so, her family was actually quite rich. She made her way through their large, three-story house and took the stairs one by one down, trying to put off her punishment for whatever she'd done. She'd endured the beating and the yelling for years, but she never fully got used to it.
"MARY ALICE IF YOU'RE NOT DOWN HERE IN FIVE SECONDS—"
Alice was used to her father's threats, though, and she knew it wasn't wise to not take them seriously. She ran the rest of the way to the kitchen, making it just in time.
"Can you explain to me what this is?" he asked her, his face turning purple. He held a piece of paper in front of Alice. She read it briefly.
"It's a transcript of Cynthia's failing grades for the trimester, sir," she said promptly, knowing he would put the blame on her. Everything bad that happened was Alice's fault. If her father lost money from the stocks, she'd be beaten. If her mother lost her pearls, Alice would be dunked underwater for minutes at a time until she admitted to stealing them.
"And Cynthia tells me she failed because of you," her father said, obviously angry at the lack of fear in Alice's eyes. The truth was, Alice was extremely afraid. She just hated showing it. "She said you kept her from studying. Is this true?"
Alice was ready to call her sister a liar, but knowing that her dad would probably set the family's demon cat on her, she nodded.
"And do you know what the punishment is for that, young lady?!" he bellowed. He made a grab for Alice's arm, but she took a step back.
This was one of the worse mistakes Alice had made. Her father's face turned a disgusting shade of blue. It was the color of the most of Alice's skin—she was a picture painted in black and blue.
Her father grabbed her by the hair and his hand came down hard and fast on the side of her face. He grabbed hold of her arm, and dropped it suddenly as if it had burned him. He turned on the kitchen light.
"What is this on your arm?" he asked, aghast. "Is this… Alice, is this blood?"
He took a towel and started cleaning off her arm. Alice's face was twisted with shock. Was her father showing sympathy for her? She half-expected him to hold her in his arms and promise that he'd be better from then on…
But when he spotted the cuts on her wrist, still bleeding, his face became contorted with rage.
"What is this?!" he bellowed. "What did I tell you, Alice?! This—this whole 'depression' thing—" He said it as if the word should have air quotes around it "—is just a phase! I told you you're fine! This is just a cry for attention, isn't it?! You're just jealous of Cynthia, that's what you are! And look, you have blood on that dress your mother worked so hard to make for you! I'll be sure to tell her not to make you another one."
The truth was, the dress Alice's mother had made her had been from when she was ten years old. It almost suffocated her. She would've been glad to have a new one. Oh, well, she thought sadly.
Her father took the broom from the cupboard under the stairs, and brought it down hard on Alice's back. She cried out in pain. Then he took a belt, and hit her stomach. He used a chair, a glass bowl, and other common household items to wreak havoc on the small girl.
"Stay here," her father commanded, chest heaving. Alice was lying in a heap on the floor, her own blood matting her hair. He turned his back on her and stomped up the stairs.
And without a second thought, Alice ran.
She ran for the door, her entire body screaming in protest. The cuts on her arms, legs, and wrists burned as the cold hair hit them when she stepped outside, but this made her laugh through her bitter tears. The pain had been the point of her idea, after all.
There were two places she'd have to go now. One of them was a graveyard not far from where she lived. There was a tree there, and the person who cleaned up the place always left several odd objects behind, one of them a rope…
But first, she forced her legs to take her two houses down, to a rickety shack where the only person who'd want to see her now lived.
She knocked hard and fast on his door, knowing her father would notice her disappearance soon and come looking for her, waking the neighbors to see if they'd seen her. To her relief, the door opened, and she collapsed inside.
"Alice," a voice gasped. "Alice, what happened to you?"
Alice looked up through her tear-blurred eyes at the man who'd answered the door.
His name was Jasper Hale. He was an unregistered orphan of nineteen. They'd met at the graveyard where Alice was to head next two years ago, when she was visiting the grave of her grandmother—after having snuck out, of course—who was the only person who'd ever loved her. They'd been meeting at the park every night after, Alice being clever enough to find ways out of her little hole.
He was tall, handsome, and honey-blonde with kind blue eyes. He scooped her into his arms, careful not to jostle her too badly, and took her to his bedroom, where he lay her down on the small bed he owned.
"Sorry it's not too comfortable," he said.
His stomach clenched and his heart gave a squeeze as he noticed how small and gaunt she was compared to him, when they were both so close in age.
"No, no, it's fine," she assured him.
"Well, are you okay?"
But he knew that was an outright lie—Alice was far form fine.
"Where were you?" he asked, kneeling next to her and taking her bruised hand in his. "I waited at the park for an hour, but you didn't show up."
"My father…," she said, and didn't have to say anything else. Jasper knew all about her father. He was the cruel man who left these marks on his beautiful Alice. Jasper was not a hateful person, but he hated Alice's father with a fiery passion.
"Anyway," she said, coughing a bit and squeezing his hand with the little strength she could muster. Her eyes started to leak tears. "Oh, dear, I didn't want you to see me cry… I just wanted to say goodbye, Jazz."
"Goodbye?" he asked. "But—why? Where are you going?"
She sighed and lay on her back. "Away," she answered.
"Well, I had a surprise for you," he said, his hands shaking with the thought of losing her. "Will you let me give it to you before you leave?"
"I don't think I should, Jasper," she said. Hearing his name come from her scarred lips sent shivers up and down his spine. "See—I won't need anything where I'm going." She giggled—but it wasn't her usual laugh. This sounded sick, twisted, and morbid, in a way. "Except, well, maybe a coffin…"
Jasper understood then. His vision was clouded by tears as he put both his hands around one of hers.
"No, Alice, no," he sobbed, his head on her stomach. She ran her fingers through his hair.
"I have to, Jazz," she said. "I can't—I'm not wanted on this earth anymore."
"How can you say that," he asked, "when the contradiction to your words is right next to you?"
Alice cocked her head, with great difficulty, to the side. "What do you mean?"
"Alice," he whispered, taking something out of his pocket. "I love you."
He opened a small box and pulled out a diamond ring. He fit the ring on her finger and held her hand. "And—and I was going to ask you to marry me."
Alice sighed, her stormy eyes glistening. "Jasper, we can't. I'm—I'm dying, don't you see?" She pointed feebly to her bleeding head. "I won't last much longer."
"You will if I get you to the hospital," he argued, trying to pick her up again. She stopped him with a shake of her head.
"No," she said. "It's my time, I know it. I can feel it. I can't keep living like this anymore."
"You don't have to," he said. "You're of age—we can run away together. I'll protect you; I'll keep anything from harming you ever again…"
"Tempting offer," she said. "But no. As I said, it's my time."
She scooted over on the bed, her way of telling him to lay down with her. He did, and he took her in his arms, pressing her against him. His hands closed around her wrists…
"Ouch—careful," she said, wincing. He looked down, and he could see several cuts there. All were deep. All brought tears to his eyes. There was one in the shape of a heart—that one was the one that brought him the most pain.
"And I'll never let you do that to yourself again," he said in her ear. She laughed again, but this time, it was her laugh, not the deranged squeak he'd heard earlier.
She started singing softly, her voice cracking every now and then when a few tears would fall. After a while, she stopped, and her breathing became steady. For a time, he thought she'd fallen asleep, but then her voice broke the silence.
"I love you, too," she said to him.
But then her eyes closed, and her body went limp. Her heart stopped with her breathing, and Jasper clutched her closer than ever, as if thinking that could bring her back.
"I won't let go," he said, a tear sliding down his cheek. "I promise. I love you."
The next day, two exploring children discovered two lifeless bodies—one of a man, one of a girl no older than eighteen with a ring on her finger lying on a small bed two houses down from where a man named Jonathan Brandon had been arrested.
Doctors said the girl, identified by her sister as Mary Alice Brandon, died of the abuse. She'd lost a lot of blood, and she wasn't physically strong enough to take it.
But no one really knew why the man, Jasper Hale, had died, exactly. Some say he had a heart attack, others say the blood on the bed was his, too. Both these theories, doctors said, were false.
The only conclusion that made any sense was that Jasper had died of a broken heart that night. Many thought that was rubbish, but many knew this could be true.
And when the town decided to give the two a funeral, to celebrate their love and pay them respects, they had to find a double coffin, because nothing anyone did could pry Jasper's arms off Alice.
But no one knew it was because he'd promised her he wouldn't let go.