23 // SHATTER

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Author's Note: The eagle-eyed Hedonists among you might notice that there's a very teeny-tiny change to something I mentioned earlier in chapter 7 // GHOSTS where Casey talked about living in her mum's one-bedroom shithole of a flat. It now has two bedrooms, but rest assured, is still a shithole ;-) Thanks for reading, you lovelies, please don't forget to support Hedoschism by hitting the vote button and leaving a comment if you can xxx

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'Are you okay?'

Ethan's voice was coming from miles away. Muffled by water fathoms deep. Travelling through dimensional worm-holes stretching across countries and continents.

I heard it. I knew he was there, standing right next to me as I stared up at the darkening sky through the window. I knew he was looking at me, his gaze no doubt searching, burying, in the way it always did when he looked at me. I knew I should answer him, but I couldn't.

I was thinking about the crucifix. The small, slightly tarnished silver crucifix I used to wear on a chain around my neck when I was a kid. I hadn't thought about it in years, not since I'd dropped it down the drain outside the block of flats where we lived, staring into the dark hole and wondering what it would be like to float away with it.

'Casey?'

'I stole a crucifix from my mum once,' I said, still looking up at the skies, as if I was looking at them for the first time.

'You stole it?'

'Yeah. I was walking past her bedroom and the door was open. I wasn't allowed in her room. It was forbidden, you know? But the thing was, she had this little shell-covered trinket box on her bedside table and I'd always been fascinated by it. Stupid really, because it was just a bit of tat. A cheap old thing she'd got down in Brighton. Ugly too. I mean, really fucking ugly, this little square box covered in brown shells. But I really wanted to look inside it. I don't know why, but it felt like secrets. Secrets stored in this little magical box, in a room I was forbidden to go in.'

'And you went in anyway?'

I laughed softly. 'I couldn't stop myself. Before I knew it, my feet were moving and that was it. I remember standing on that green carpet she had in her room and thinking quick, get out, get out, but suddenly I was there, opening the tiny latch on the trinket box and lifting the lid.'

'Did it contain any secrets?'

I frowned. 'No. No secrets. No magic. Just a few old pieces of costume jewellery she never wore. Odd earrings. A few buttons that must have fallen off some of her clothes which she'd meant to sew back on but never did. But then, right at the bottom, was this tiny crucifix on a chain and I don't know why, but I took it.'

I wanted to move closer to the glass, put my fingers on the window pane where the last light of the day was fading on the horizon, but I knew Ethan's shield was up and daren't touch it.

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