Savage Delight

Page 15


“What do you mean?”
James shuffles, staring at his feet. “Sometimes…sometimes she gets weird. And mad. And when we ask about it Naomi says it’s someone else yelling, not Sophia. But it’s her voice. And then they call Jack, and he always comes no matter what time it is and she calms down and gets quiet again.”
I watch Jack’s figure grow smaller down the hall.
She remembers.
Isis Blake remembers me.
The world doesn’t move for me. It stopped that night in middle school. It trembled when Isis first punched me, and grew to a roil with every day I fought the war against her. And then it went still for weeks. For weeks that felt longer than years.
Today the world shakes and it shakes with her name and her set, determined face as she looked me in the eyes and told me I was a bad prince. Today it shakes because she might think I’m terrible (you are terrible. Your hands are bloody and you are terrible), but she remembers me. A small fragment of the old Isis - the one who recognized me and despised me months ago - shone through in her eyes. She hates me. But she remembers me.
She remembers a kiss (which kiss which kiss which kiss the fake one from the beginning or the true one in Avery’s house?).
Today my world shakes. Not hard. But it moves under my feet and reminds me that yes -yes. I’m really alive. I am not ice. I am not a freak, or a monster. I am not something people are afraid of, or avoid. I am human and I have done bad things, but the world shakes and I am human. I am not untouchable. I can be shaken.
By Isis Blake.
As I walk into the hospital room more familiar to me than home, Naomi walks out of it, her hair frazzled and her nurse scrubs wrinkled. A scratch mark mars her arm from her elbow to her wrist. It isn’t deep, but it’s red and angry and very noticeable.
“That bad?” I ask.
Naomi shakes her head. “I have no idea why she….she hasn’t done this for an entire month, and now –”
“Something must have triggered her,” I say, and try to push past her into the room. “Let me talk to her.”
“She’s sleeping. Trisha administered a tranq.”
The elation from knowing Isis remembers me drains away. I feel a dark fury start to broil over me, but Naomi backtracks.
“Jack, listen. Listen to me. It was the only thing we could do. She was threatening to hurt herself with a pair of scissors.”
“How did she get –” My own anger chokes me off. “Why did you let her have those?”
“I didn’t! You know me better than that, for christ’s sake! I don’t know where she got them, or how, but she had them and all we could do was stop her before she could do any real harm to herself.”
Dread replaces the anger, layering over it like a sickening cake. I can barely open my mouth to speak, but the words somehow escape.
“She must have been triggered. She’s gotten so much better. You know she wouldn’t do this unless someone said something that upset her.”
Naomi waves a tired hand towards the sleeping Sophia in the bed, tucked under the white covers too-perfectly. Too peacefully.
“You’re welcome to talk to her when she wakes up. But my shift is over in five minutes.”
I instantly spot the fine wrinkles under her eyes, the weary bags that all nurses get sometime in their long and stress-ridden careers. She’s so tired. She’s been Sophia’s best nurse, the only one she really likes and trusts.
“I’m sorry,” I mutter.
Naomi’s eyebrows shoot up into her hairline. “Excuse me? What was that strange word I just heard you say?”
“Don’t make me say it twice.”
I push into the room and close the door behind me. I watch Naomi leave through the frosted glass of the room’s divider, her smirk evident even through the opacity.
The room is dim and quiet, save for the beeping of the monitors that staccato out her vital signs in too-cheery chirps. Every bouquet I’ve given her this year is still in the room – wilted and browning and not enticing in the slightest. But she keeps them all. She keeps each vase full of water, and all the vases in chronological order.
It’s then the guilt hits me like a steel maul to my chest. I haven’t visited for two weeks. There’s a two-week gap she’s carefully left in the line of flowers, two empty vases waiting for me to bring them the blooms they need to serve their purpose.
I let my guilt at not being able to save Isis override my duty to Sophia. And that’s unforgivable.
How can I be so excited about a girl remembering a kiss when the girl who needs me is suffering?
Selfish bastard.
I sit on the end of her bed gingerly. The white blankets fold like snow under my weight, and contour gently around her outline. She’s so much thinner than I remember. Her every bone sticks out like a bird’s – frail and hollow-looking. Her cheekbones are sharp and evident. There’s no trace of the rosy bloom I’d gotten so used to seeing growing up. That went away after that night long ago.
“I really am a bad prince,” I murmur.
I smooth hair away from her forehead. She mumbles softly and rolls over.
My fists clench in the sheets, and the molten spike of feverish regret bakes my insides, starting in my heart, working its way to my lungs and stomach and everything in-between.
Our Tallie.
‘You’ve hurt a lot of people, haven’t you?’
3 Years
26 Weeks
0 Days
Dr. Fenwall is Santa. If Santa went on a slimfast diet and wore corduroy pants every day of his life and used words like ‘endometrial tissue’.
“Now, Isis, if you could just lie back –”
I slump on the CAT scan bed and huff. “I’ve done this before, doc! I’ve done lie backs every freaking day since I’ve been here! At least seventy billion lie backs!”
Fenwall’s eyes crinkle and his white mustache curls with his smile. “You should be a little used to it.”
“You never get used to being slotted into a giant doughnut’s vagina.” I motion at the CAT machine. It beeps excitedly. I plot its demise.
“Well, this is your last time doing it. Come on now, lie back.”
I shout UGH and flop back and bang my head.
“And be careful, will you? We spent a lot of hours sewing that cranium back together.” Fenwall chides. He presses a button and the CAT bed slides in, a tunnel engulfing me in dimness.
“You okay in there?” He asks.
“Everything’s cramped and smells like cotton balls.”
“Perfectly fine, then. Start it up, Cleo!”
A woman at the control panel in the next room waves through the window and the machine starts to whirr. I hear Fenwall leave, and then it’s just me and Big Bertha. And her vagina.
“How’s…how’s the weather up there in…robot land?” I try. The machine gurgles.
“Good. That’s good. And the kids?”
Big Bertha bleeps enthusiastically and a blue light blinds me.
“Ahh!” I shield my eyes. “Th-They must going through teenage rebellion!”
The machine blips sadly and the light goes out.
“It’s okay,” I assure her. “When they’re in their twenties they’ll think you’re smart and worth listening to again.”