A/N for nobody at all because I am likely to be the only one who will ever read this.

I've been thinking about MOO lately and picked it up again. God, it's awful isn't it? I achieved nothing I set out to. Sometime (in maybe 10 years time) I will fix up all the past chapters and make everyone less whingy. In the meantime I need to get this finished, for me, because I do actually love this story and in my head there is a huge and great story that has been developing for close to 10 years now. One day, one day.

I actually quite like this chapter. The ones coming up aren't so bad either. There is heaps written, but even bigger holes between the blocks that are written of things I haven't been able to find the motivation to write. Spoiler - Edward and Bella get it on. That part is already written, it's not bad either. In the version I have Edward has been changed to Braxton and Bella is Charlie, because I am way over the Twilight thing. So for any poor soul that is actually still reading this, if I've forgotten to change a name here and there, you won't be like "Who the fuck is that?"

Bed time.

CHAPTER NINETEEN Falling through the cracks

There's a shadow just behind me,

Shrouding every step I take.

Making every promise empty,

Pointing every finger at me.

Waiting like a stalking butler,

Who upon the finger rests.

Murder now, the path that must be,

Just because the son has come.

(Sober – Tool)


Sleep, how I wish I could have it. Oh, how I would love to sleep. You couldn't call what I do sleep. Sleep is restful, sleep is peaceful and easy. What happens to me when I close my eyes is none of these things. My sleep is full of dark shadows and deadly fiends, sweats, fear, screams and tears.

My head was killing me. It throbbed so hard that I could hear it pounding in my ears and feel it behind my eyes. My vision blurred and I wanted to vomit. All I wanted was comfort, my head and my heart betraying me. I wanted to go back, back to before my world had turned to carnage and fear. Back to before I had my innocence stripped away by a bullet. Back to when it didn't hurt to feel. Then I would pray for numb, because it felt like nothing would ever be okay again. Nothing. My chest was raw, I felt it rip open with the ache and bleed all over my shirt. I felt haunted, like there was a shadow that hovered just above me, a darkness that I couldn't shake. It tainted everything in my world. Even unconscious I was not immune. I needed something, anything, to numb the pain.

Slowly I raised myself up from the foetal position I had adopted for the last few days, my body aching in protest as I scrambled blindly around the inside of the dark tent in search of the supply bag that hadn't yet been removed. Alice was sleeping quietly beside me and I was as careful as possible not to wake her. I didn't want to worry her any more than she already was. Besides, with my constant night terrors I was surprised she even slept at all. She must be exhausted.

My hand hit something hard as I reached into the pack that had been thrown at the bottom of the tent days ago. A torch. I briefly considered flicking it on as I pulled it from the top of the pack. It was bound to wake Alice, I threw it away. Clothing, fly spray, hair brush, and paper - my fingers closed around something that seemed promising, a small cardboard box...pain relief? No, tampons. I threw them away and continued my hunt. The bag was emptying, its contents spread across one side of the dark tent. I pulled the last thing from the bag sadly, knowing that my search had been in vain. It was a glass bottle full of some kind of clear liquid. It had a label but in the darkness I couldn't make it out. I almost discarded it to the side along with everything else but something made stop. Cautiously I removed the lid, it was full to the brim and I didn't want to spill whatever was inside but as soon as I loosened the cap my nostrils were assaulted by the potent and distinct smell of alcohol.

It made my head spin instantly, my mouth filled with the acidic taste of bile that rose up my throat. I didn't really give myself a chance to consider where it had come from or who had brought it down here. Maybe it had been brought with medicinal intentions, but I suspected not. The smell alone made me want to hurl, but I had never wanted anything more in my entire life. Without giving my body time to react or my mind time to think it through I pulled the bottle to my lips and poured a large gulp of the foul liquid down my throat. The first few seconds were tolerable, I barely tasted anything at all - then came the poison and the fire.

My mouth erupted into a violent stinging burn as my throat closed and my stomach contracted. I pulled the bottle from my lips and clamped my mouth shut against the force of my heave. I had to get out of here, I needed air. I wrenched open the zip on the tent, not really caring anymore if I woke Alice up or not and stumbled out into the biting cold air, one hand clamped over my mouth and the other gripped tightly to the neck of the glass bottle as tears started to stream thickly down my cheeks. I only managed to stumble a few paces before I had to rid myself of the liquid from my mouth that I had been unable to swallow. It stung and burnt at my tongue as I spat it out on the ground and over the front of my shirt. Panting hard, I stumbled further away from the tent fighting the violent churning in my stomach.

I finally collapsed against the sturdy trunk of a tree, smacking the back of my throbbing head against the sharp bark and completely not giving a shit. I took in slow deep breaths of the cold damp air, waiting for the nausea to pass. After slow agonising minutes the clenching in my stomach faded and was replaced by the deep and almost uncomfortable warmth that centered in my belly. My eyes continued to stream, but it wasn't because of the alcohol anymore. I felt sick and disgusting - my hair was matted with dried sweat and tears, my clothes unwashed and dirty, my fever still raged and I felt weak and useless. But I deserved it, I deserved it all. Because that nameless man that probably still lay cold and dead and hollow on the Barlow's shed floor would never feel again, never feel anything; good or bad – because of me.

I slammed my head back against the tree again, the faint haze that clouded my mind numbing the impact slightly. I clenched my eyes shut tightly but it didn't stop the image of the man with hollow dead eyes from staring back at me from behind my lids. I needed more haze, I needed to be numb. Without opening my eyes I brought the bottle back up to my lips, downing a few more gulps quickly and savouring the burn this time as it blazed its way down my throat and sat heavily and unpleasantly in my stomach. The burn in my mouth wasn't as bad this time, still horrible, but not unbearable. I sat and panted for a while longer as another wave of queasiness hit me, stronger than before. I hadn't eaten in days which only enhanced the speed of my chemically induced temporary lobotomy.

My mind felt light, but my limbs were heavy. My whole body was heavy, even my chest seemed to weigh me down. It ached and twisted, unaffected by the anesthetizing effects that the alcohol brought to other parts of my body. The tears continued to spill, heavy and relentless they soaked down my cheeks and neck until I was gasping with the force of them, my chest convulsing with the force of my silent cries of pain. I wrapped my arms around myself, feeling like I needed to hold myself together like I was being torn apart from the inside out.

A soul bleeding isn't as loud as a bomb, but it holds the same level of destruction. Sometimes it sounds as light as a feather falling, and nobody can hear it except you... I finally let myself feel the full force of the guilt, rejection, anger and fear - and it crippled me.

None of us would survive this war. If we were lucky we would still be breathing at the end, but our souls would be shattered and broken. I felt like mine had already been beaten beyond recognition.

I needed strength, I needed comfort. I wanted Edward, and my aching heart had twisted them both into a correlated need. Looking back, I realise how absurd I was being. But never the less, I needed Edward, but he didn't need me. Yet I knew in total certainty that my heart would only ever beat for him. It already had for years. I had held onto hope so pathetically for so long because it was the only thing that stopped me from crumbling to pieces where I stood, and now that I knew the truth, the crushing of my heart was inconceivably worse.

I wanted to be held, more than any point in my life I needed to feel like I wasn't alone. I slumped to the side, the dizziness taking control of my body full force, and lay my face down in the damp grass for hours and cried. I cried for my parents, I cried for Edward, I cried for the man whose life I had destroyed, but most of all I cried for myself because this torture seemed endless. It would be with me always. I longed for the weightlessness of relief, the numb brought by the poison of alcohol only dulling the agony in the areas that required the least amount of attention. At some point I fell into a sort of sleep, I fell quickly between periods of deep sleep and semi coherence but still the internal ripping and tearing continued.

When the grey light of morning began to break I crawled back to the tent. I didn't want to move, and I felt like I couldn't but the idea of having Alice close to me was too good to pass up. I raised myself from the grass that was now damp with dew, the motion had me crumpled back to the ground within seconds as the nausea became too much and I vomited the small amount of nothingness in my stomach out onto the soil. Gasping and whimpering I left the offending half empty bottle of what I thought may be home brew vodka behind and crawled pathetically back to Alice. She was still sleeping, her face soft and peaceful. I envied her with every cell in my body. Austin loved her so completely and I don't even think she truly knew how lucky she was for that.

I finally slept that day, deep and heavy. I've never felt so exhausted and drained. The few times my nightmares did wake me I hardly had the energy to scream. I was ragged and spent. For the few moments I was awake during the next day my head throbbed with an intensity I had never felt before. It felt like adding salt to my wounds.

When I did finally become coherent to the world the light of the day had already faded. I found a tin of fruit and a bottle of water beside my bed and honestly tried my hardest to stomach it, but one bite was all I could force down before I felt like I would hurl all over my make-shift mattress. I'd had enough of vomiting, the bitter taste in my mouth from the night before still lingered, so badly so that I actually found the energy to dig out my toothbrush from my pack. I was in desperate need for a toilet break and it was becoming unavoidable so I gathered together some supplies and stumbled my way out of the tent weak and miserable. It was colder outside tonight than it had been last night, there was no wind but a frost was defiantly coming.

Slowly I made my way into the trees, my body still felt like it weighed a tonne and I couldn't seem to keep my head up above my shoulders. I relieved myself and set to brushing my teeth, using the water from the drink bottle to dampen my tooth brush. After a few minutes of rigorous scrubbing I gave up and downed the entire contents of the drink bottle, not realising how incredibly dehydrated I was. Like the alcohol from the night before, the water sat uncomfortably in my stomach but it was easier to hold down and I felt slightly more refreshed for it. I trudged like a zombie back slowly, wanting to just crawl back into my sleeping bag and sleep for another day but just as I was about to enter the clearing again I caught the scent of something that made my stomach twist and churn. Looking down at my feet I saw the glint of glass reflect brightly in the moonlight, the metal of the cap shining brightly up at me. I took a step back away from the tree it rested upon, the memories of last night causing the fault line in my chest to tear open a little, stealing a breath from my lungs.

I should have walked away. I should have turned my back and lifted my head in disgust - but I didn't. Instead my toothbrush, the toilet paper, the empty drink bottle and my deodorant all slipped from my fingers to the ground as I stared at its mocking temptation.

Don't ask me why I lifted the bottle up from the dirt where it lay, because I honestly don't know. I don't think I'll ever know. Maybe I really was on a path to self destruction. Regardless, I took the bottle in my hands, the cool wet glass slipping against my equally damp skin. The cap was sitting lop sided on the neck, only half screwed on but enough to stop the majority of its contents from escaping. Hesitantly, and without breathing, I brought it up to my lips. The small amount of residue around the opening stung at the cracks in my lips. I winced and then hesitantly drew in a deep breath, tasting the poison in the air and testing myself.

The smell hit me like a kick to the face, the odor itself seemed to travel instantly to my head making me light-headed and dizzy. My stomach, however, had other ideas. It twisted and churned like it had the night before but stronger this time. I felt the bile rise instantly in my throat, coating my mouth faster than I was able to swallow it down. I dropped the bottle and retreated, my hand flying to my mouth and my body doubling over at the middle. I ploughed forward, not really looking where I was going and just needing to put as much distance between me and the smell as possible until I felt to my hands and knees, my stomach constricting and convulsing as I gagged and coughed into the dirt.

A/N - Post another, you're on a roll. Do it, lazy biatch. Brax/Edward is up next.