12 // HAVEN

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Three grams of Charlie in a small plastic bag. Two pills, one blue, one white. Two blotters of acid, one with a strawberry picture, the other with a heart.

I sat on the side of the bed, fist pressed against my lips, one foot constantly tapping a jive against the floor. Reaching out, I straightened up the line of drugs on the bedside table, spacing them out, then went back along and did it again. I stood up abruptly, began to walk away and stopped.

Three grams. Two pills. Two tabs.

Turning around, I stared at the line-up and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. Taking a step closer, I hesitated, clutching at my hair. With a whimper, I opened the drawer, quickly swiping the cocktail into it and shut it firmly, stepping back to watch the small table lamp wobble on top of the unit, the light juddering on the walls.

I walked away. Stopped. Glanced back. Closed my eyes.

Screams filled my ears, like the shrieks of a thousand birds, wings furiously beating at the air.

The screeching noises I'd heard as I'd fled had reminded me of the sounds I'd heard when the creature had chased me outside Oscar's club. Only this time, it had been worse, a sound so shrill and so terrifying that I'd felt the chill encapsulate my heart, the ice spreading through chambers and valves, willing it to stop beating. I wasn't sure I'd ever stop hearing that sound, an eternal terrifying echo inside my head.

I opened my eyes, fingers twitching by my sides. I wanted to open that drawer so bloody much.

'No', I whispered. 'No.'

'Case?' Addi said from the doorway. He'd been watching me ever since I'd arrived back home and had run upstairs to pull my stash from the drawer and place it all in a neat little line like I was about to play eenie-meenie-miny-mo on what to take first.

'No,' I said again, louder this time.

'Casey, baby girl, please...'

'Shut up, Addi.' I whirled around to face him, ignoring the flicker of hurt in his eyes. 'Please, just shut up. I can't think. I need to think.'

I went back and sat on the edge of the bed, drumming my fingers on the table where coffee cup rings scorched the surface in a pattern of pale concentric circles. 

Pulling my hand back into my lap, I locked my fingers together but my foot started tapping again, a constant agitated drumbeat that was soon joined by more frantic beats, as footsteps pounded the stairs.

I knew Addi had called Davey. I'd been sitting here as he'd slunk back into the hallway, making the call in a hushed voice as if he thought I was too off my head to hear him, as if I wasn't in the very next room listening to every bloody word.

'Ads, where is she?'

I had to give Davey some credit. He sounded genuinely concerned, and according to Addi, had been out searching for me when I hadn't come home from meeting Claire. The Casey Brogan I knew would have been pleased by this, a tiny glimmer of something resembling warmth would have sparked a fire in her cold heart, and for a moment – just a moment, mind you – she would have felt something. But I didn't feel like her anymore. I didn't know how to feel. I didn't know who to be. And so, as I heard the anxiety in Davey's voice, I felt nothing but an all-consuming panic, that weighed so heavy upon me that I felt anchored to the drugs.

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