Chapter 13: Hades

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Two weeks later...

I sat in the reception area wearing a long-sleeve shirt, sweating but unwilling to roll up my sleeves. I had my reasons.

"Dr. Crosswel will see you now."

The secretary beckoned me past her into the small doorway. I'd never been in a psychologist's office before. Part of me expected it to open up into a large, spacious, laboratory-like room with machines and microscopes and fizzling instruments.

That's chemistry, I said to myself. Stupid.

My next thought was of rooms that I'd seen on television. A leather chair facing a soft, comfortable couch with books surrounding on a shelf. There would be some type of lamp and notebooks scattered on a table, full of confidential notes on patients.

What I found was like nothing I'd ever seen before.

One half of the roof was a miniature library. The shelves were lined against the walls. Every shelf seemed to have another only a few feet in front of it. There was barely enough space for someone to walk in the labyrinth. They were a maze to me.

Where the shelves ended in the middle of the room, there was a handful of leather chairs scattered around in no pattern. On the wall was a bulletin board, void for now but with a plethora of tacks that implied it was must have been used often.

In front of this was a large desk with looseleaf papers and thick notebooks scattered around it. Behind it was a stiff, wooden chair. In it was a man, slumped over a crumpled piece of paper.

Dr. Crosswel took the spectacles from his face and set them on the desk. Running two hands through his light red, balding hair, he glanced up at me and then straightened up.

"I assume you're here about Damian?"

I nodded.

"Sit down."

There were six or seven identical chairs scattered around; they weren't even all facing him. I opened my mouth to ask where to sit, but closed it again.

"There." He pointed to one at the right of his desk, facing him.

I sat.

"What exactly did you want to ask me about?" The doctor gave me a stern look. "I'm a busy man, Caleb Jackson. I'm sure you know that. Lots of meeting, lots of clients, lots of problems. Especially now that Damian's been arrested."

"He wasn't. Abigail was."

"To me they're all one and the same."

I folded my arms, feeling irritated for a moment. The magnitude of what I'd done weighed on me again and I found myself shivering. For weeks, I'd sat in complete silence or walked lonely roads at twilight. The air was colder then and felt nice. It was almost August, and school was a terrible menace looming in the near future. I hated the thought of starting again. A new school, new people.

Were they as screwed up as me? Was everyone?

"What is it?" the doctor asked, seeing my thoughtful and frustrated expression.

"She wasn't arrested. I turned her in."

"What do you mean?"

"I called the cops. I told them where we would be. I set it up. I took her there. I stalled outside the movies. I loved her." The tears began to spill hot on my cheeks. Every ounce of my willpower was spent fighting them. How were there any left? "I turned her in. I kissed her."

The doctor chewed on a pen cap, calmly watching my meltdown. "Why would you do that?"

"Because she scared me! She hurt... No. He hurt people. Damian. He killed Ayva!"

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