9. Algophobia

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♡Chapter dedicated to MalagasyHorrorWriter

"I've been a fool and I've been blind. I can never leave the past behind." Florence and the Machines.

" Florence and the Machines

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Fuck this.

If that evil bitch thought that he would just sit here and take this, then she was even crazier than he had originally thought.

Ignoring the sharp stabbing pain that shot through his wrists, he pulled at the leather straps that held his arms in place. The surrounding skin quickly turned a deep red, rubbed raw by the thick material.

Ryder knew all about grief. In fact, he considered himself an expert.

He had felt it when his father died. He could still remember in excruciating detail the months that followed as his mother wandered around, zombie-like and Kayla cried endlessly, the lament of a broken heart.

The biggest lesson he had learned through those difficult times, was that grief never truly went away. It was like a broken mirror. Yes, you can fix it and glue it back together, but you will always know that it was once shattered. Your eyes unconsciously looking for the hairline cracks that you know are there.

And that was how it was for him. Even on that night a year ago, his first thought had been what his father would have said had he been alive to witness Ryder commit the ultimate sin.

It was no surprise when Savannah began to avoid him. Before, she had always been excited to see him, a cute giggle never far from her lips, her hands always unconsciously touching her hair. But that all ended after that night, when the one thing that truly linked them together was the worst that either of them had ever done. He found himself grieving what they used to have, looking at it as a loss.

But what he was feeling now was an entirely new kind of grief, an ache that began to blossom in his chest, an all-consuming pain as he watched the girl he cared for live out her worst nightmare, knowing there was nothing he could do about it. The straps began to bite into his skin, and a swell of crimson blood appeared, dripping down to the floor.

"Ryder, stop it. You're bleeding."

The words meant nothing to him. Even though they were spoken by the one person who could usually make him see reason. He looked up at his sister, catching her eyes, seeing the terror there, and knew that he couldn't handle watching her go through the same thing that her best friend was.

"Guilt."

Savannah's voice cut through him like a searing hot blade. It wasn't so much the tone, although the pure agony in it was bad enough, it was the word she had said. It stopped him in his tracks, causing him to look up at her once again.

He knew then what she was seeing. He knew what her worst fear was. He also knew, that it was all his fault.

For a moment, he forgot about the fear he was supposed to be feeling, he forgot that he was trapped in a room with an evil serum currently coursing through his veins, Everything narrowed down to the girl across from him, strapped to her chair and thrashing around in terror. He felt as though he was suffocating from the screams that fell from her lips, drowning in the pain that she was feeling.

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