My brother's midnight hair is so dark that it puts the darkness that surrounds the car to shame. We're silent as I pull my old red Outback up to the shabby motel.
"I'll get us our rooms." I say quietly and slip out of the car. I tug my coat tighter around me as I walk towards the dingy motel.
A large heavy set woman who smells strongly of smoke sits behind the counter. I put my hands on the the desk. There was dirt everywhere, I removed my hands and tried to wipe them on my pants without her knowing.
"Two rooms please. Single beds."
She ducks her lower, checking the old computer. I had to wait a few minutes before she looked at me then back to the screen again.
"Sorry. No can do. We have one more double bed though."
I gnaw on my lip in contemplation. It will be horribly awkward and Jackson will hate it, but it's already late and this may be the only option.
I sigh. "I'll take it."
I walk slowly to the car, knowing that Jackson will be unhappy with the idea of staying in the same room as me. More like repulsed, actually. As I come into view, a tall figure steps out of the car. I place his room key in his waiting palm and shift my weight nervously.
"What?" he asks.
"Erm, well, they only had one room left."
He lets out an angry huff of air and grabs his bag before storming away.
I sigh again, before pulling out my own bag and hauling it upstairs to our room.
When I walk in, Jackson is pulling off his shirt. His back is facing me and I cry out in the pain of the sharpness of the memories. I'd forgotten how bad it felt. His flesh is mauled and scarred over, and the low lighting casts shadows behind the raised slashes of skin. It seems red in the light. As if it's burning. My own back suddenly felt as if I had bathed in fire seconds ago.
My bag falls from my hands and lands with a heavy thud on the floor.
My brother jumps in surprise and spins around to face me. My lip quivers and tears cloud my vision.
I let this happen. I let all of this happen.
His eyes harden and narrow into slits.
"Revolting aren't they?" he spits.
"I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry." I cry, as the tears fall.
"Sorry isn't enough Natalie! Do you remember how many times dad said sorry to mom?! Or have you forgotten? Just like everything else that you've forgotten!" he yells.
"I never forgot! I never forgot any of it! The memories are still as sharp, still as vivid as it was when it happened!"
"But that's not any better then pretending it didn't happen! It happened Natalie, whether you chose to ignore it or not! Even after you were gone it happened!"
I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head in denial. But even then as I tried to force his words away, just as I done to everything else, I knew he was right. Of course he was right.
"I'm sorry Jeremy! I'm sorry." I whimper. "I never meant..."
"Meant what Natalie?! You had to of known what would happen. You're stupid if you didn't . Don't you understand? An alcoholic doesn't stop drinking when his favorite drink is gone! He just moves onto another!"
I can do nothing but stand as he shouts at me, slapping the truth in my face. He was right. I was stupid. Stupid to think that it would stop.
I spin abruptly and lock the bathroom door behind me. I put the shower on full blast to conceal my sobs. Carefully, I turn my back to the mirror and lift up my shirt, greeted by the same ugly sight that I had walking through the hotel door.
A sob rips from my throat and I slink to the floor. My body heaved sob after sob. The memories kept coming, the belts, the pain. The screams.
YOU ARE READING
After We Said GoodbyeMystery / Thriller
Natalie Gray was supposed to be out. For good. She walked away from her past eight years ago and never looked back... even though she left behind the person she loved the most. She thought she'd finally escaped the clutches of the past she so desper...