Chapter 1. Introduction
Set: School, Latin class, C Block, Room C6. Time: Nearing mid-day.
I glanced up at the projected image of the computer screen on the whiteboard. I sighed thinking to myself God why did I ever take this stupid subject? then a voice answered me well.. you never thought it would become this difficult, and you always got straight A's in it before.. I would've done the same. I thought about this and realised that this other thought was correct. But even still; I honestly didn't realise Latin would become so complex, all the grammatical sequences and set text was enough to make you want to put a pistol to your head as soon as you had read the first line of it, never mind sixty odd pages. I sighed again and set my head down on the desk, making sure my hair covered my eyes so Dr Dempsie wouldn't see that my eyes were closed. I had the prime spot in the classroom; seating wise, because even though I was at the very front, I was situated behind his computer, meaning that I could put my head down and if I leant a certain length to the left, he wouldn't be able to see me. ''Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus or Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, the future Nero, was born on 15 December 37 in Antium, near Rome. He was the only son of Gneaus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the younger, sister of Emperor Caligula. When his father was employed abroad, he was sent to live with his uncle Claudius, who had Ceberal Palsy, Agrippina.........'' I slowly but surely fell asleep to the drone that his voice had become.
I don't know how long I slept, It couldn't have been more than ten minutes, though it felt like a lifetime. Suddenly I was wakened by his voice calling my name. ''Faye..? Faye..? Faye..? FAYE?'' I sat up with a start 'Yes sir?' I answered and he said ''Have you got this down?'' I replied groggily with 'Y-yes sir, just getting it down now, sorry sir'. He gave me a look and continued on speaking to the rest of the class. I slumped back in my seat with another heavy sigh and applied my ability to not listen as I usually did in class. I stared at the blank page in front of me and wrote on it I hate this, I didn't quite know what I hated, I just knew I was feeling it. The aching hadn't ceased for weeks now and I was starting to lose more and more sleep over it, I never ate much anyway but if I kept going on this way I would stop eating completely... I felt as though nothing really mattered anymore. I realised I was crying, silently and without noise, I started to shake, at first slightly, but it became more violent as it continued, I looked at my teacher, he seemed not to have noticed anything, which was good. My breathing was starting to get a little out of control now, I felt the ache becoming stronger, reaching into my throat, consuming me, It was trying to throttle me. I couldn't let this take over me, not here, not now. I forced myself to swallow the tears and stopped breathing for thirty seconds, grabbing a hold of my chair until the shaking stopped. Suddenly I could feel the burning of eyes on me as I tried to maintain myself, looking up I saw Dr Dempsie gazing at me in curiosity and deep concern, can he see me shaking? can he see my tears? I wondered quickly, panic stricken. He saw the panic flit across my face though because just as the bell went he asked me if I could stay behind for a moment to speak with him.
Dread sat in the pit of my stomach as my classmates left one by one, or in the girls case two by two. Then we were alone. ''Are you alright Faye? I couldn't help but notice that your face was glistening earlier; and you were shaking quite badly' He said in that caring voice I had only ever heard once before when one of the second year pupils father had died. I stared at him in fear and panic, my brow furrowed as my face lost every inch of colour, fading to a sheet white. 'I... Sir... I... I'm terribly sorry' I mumbled after a painfully long moment. I fumbled with my fingers, looking at the floor and then glancing up to meet the eyes under his also furrowed brow, though his was so because he was worried, not because he was afraid. ''It's alright, you don't need to be sorry.. Faye, I have noticed that over the past couple of weeks you look a lot more tired and lifeless, not only in my class, I have seen it also when we pass in the corridors. Your homeworks have become very lacking, that is when and if you hand them in; and you rarely do any work in class anymore, today being a prime example, as you fell asleep. I'm worried.. Is there something wrong? And if so, is it something you can talk to me or one of the other teachers about?''. My breathing had sped up a pace as my eyes darted around the room searching for an escape from this conversation, I took a step backwards and stumbled 'Th-there's nothing wrong sir, n-nothing, I.. I have to go.. I have... study classes to attend during my lunch period, I have to go!'. I heard him shout for me to come back but I ignored it, I ran out of the classroom and legged it up the short flight of stairs, then down the next three to get to the ground floor, my heart was racing in my chest. I was shaking again and I realised I needed to go somewhere he wouldn't find me to finish that conversation, so I walked very fast in the direction of S Block.
When I got there I sat beside my favourite radiator and let the intense heat sear through my shirt into my back, I sighed, trying to calm myself of the fear that had fired up inside me like instant heartburn that made me feel sick just five minutes beforehand. I still felt sick. Fuck.. I can't let that happen again.. I just hope he doesn't go to my form teacher and tell her of his worries. That's the last thing I need right now. I thought to myself whilst searching my bag for my timetable. FUCK. Chemistry I realised. 'God I'm screwed' I mumbled. I didn't know what I'd done to piss Mr Marron off, but he despised me. I always tried hard in class and answered questions when they were asked (I was usually correct too), I wrote everything down quickly and accurately; listened in class to everything he said and actually took it all in and remebered it, I even asked questions about the topics he talked about. I didn't understand why he seemed to dislike me so much. Yes I listened to music and sometimes had my phone out in class, but then who didn't? Everyone in our split class had been caught doing it, I didn't see why I was singled out to be shouted at. I sighed again, It had become a habit of mine. I walked down the S block corridor and turned a corner into J block, where my chemistry room was situated. Sitting down outside the door I opened my chemistry books and began to write out a full detailed explanation of the water cycle. I finished this just as the bell to signify that lunch was over sounded, I was writing the date as yesterdays when I heard familiar footsteps. Looking up I saw Mr Marron glaring at me, when my scared brown eyes met his ice cold blues he looked around as if wondering where the rest of my class were. As he opened the classroom door he spat ''Right. You may as well come in and sit down'' in my general direction. I slowly got up, gathered my things and walked into the classroom, round a few desks to reach my own and sit down on the hard wooden stools. I cringed as I sat and unloaded my books onto the table in a neat fashion thinking to myself - This class is going to be fun...
Vicinity: Mc Arthur Hall (The boarding department in which I resided) Time: 15:20PM
I trudged up the steps to the massive double doors of the domain I lived in, glanced in through the staffroom to make sure someone would be able to let me in and then pressed the buzzer. Two short presses. After a moment someone pressed the button in the staffroom that would allow me to open the door and I did so. Letting it swing back behind me I walked through the atrium door, through the magnificent hallway and into the staffroom. Matron Hannah was there to greet me. ''Well Faye, how was school today?'' she said as enthusiastically as she could manage, 'Fine' I replied dully as I signed my name in the sign-in sheet also marking the date and time that I had returned from school. She said something else but I ignored it as I walked back out of the staffroom and started to make my way up the carpeted staircase. I used to look around every time I walked through this place. But I didn't anymore. The stone and wooden carvings, the elaborately decorated staircase and polished wood no longer interested my bleakened imagination. It was all already etched into my mind anyway, why should I waste my time looking at it any more? I reached the first landing and turned right, walking past the beginning of the second staircase and through the door into my cubicle domitory. My school shoe heels clicked down the first corridor noisily, none of the sixth years were out yet, no one in my year got ninth period off today other than me either so I had about forty minutes to myself. I opened the door into the second corridor and turned left after the small hallway, my cubicle was the first on the right. Our rooms were quite small, each held a single bed, a light coloured wooden wardrobe, a chest of drawers made of the same wood, a desk complete with chair to study, a bedside light, two plugs and usually a small window. The floor of these rooms were of polished light coloured wood. I dumped my school bag on the floor and kicked it underneath the desk, closed the door and took two steps until I collapsed onto my bed. I kicked my shoes off and curled up into a ball. Why does this hurt so fucking much..? I thought to myself I can't take it anymore.. I HATE THIS... Suicidal thoughts kept running through my head, new creative ways to take my own life. I held my head down with my hands and pushed with both, as though I was trying to squish it between my hands. A scream of agonizing pain welled up from somewhere inside me, somewhere very deep inside.. A place I had never felt before. I knew what I had to do; but it was too early in the day, it'd have to wait until later. Its funny the way no one notices your despair isnt it? A voice in my head taunted, adding Could that be because they don't care? 'Shut Up!' I shouted 'Shut up-shut up-shut UP!' I continued as I heard that bullying laughter echo through my head. No one was around to hear me so I could shout as much as I wanted. It felt good to release some of the anger that had been building inside me, but now that I had I felt lifeless.. All the energy had been drained from me. I calmed my breathing and as I did everything started to blur out, my vision going hazy as I slipped into a dreamless sleep.
I jolted awake. My door was being knocked and my name called in a simultaniously angry and curious tone ''Faye? Where are you? You're late for dinner again! Faye?'' Miss Mckay called. Shit, why didn't any of those pricks wake me? Inconsiderate teenagers. I exclaimed to myself whilst saying 'Yes I'm here.. I'm sorry, I fell asleep straight after school. No one bothered to wake me. I'm still in my uniform, go on ahead, I promise I'll only be like two minutes' I replied over the wall of my cubicle as I started pulling my uniform off. I yanked off my tie and threw it somewhere, unzipped my skirt and let it fall, undid my top two buttons and pulled my shirt off, leaving it where it fell. I opened my wardrobe and tugged out the first top I saw, my black and pink striped tank top. Pulling it over my head I slid on a pair of jeans and stepped into my slippers, then I proceeded in slamming my door back and half sprinting, half sliding down the corridors, stairs and into the huge dining hall where I immediately joined the queue in the hope of not being noticed. But of course they always noticed and when the announcements were being read and we were told we could leave I was asked to go and see Mrs Mckay in the staffroom. At which I set my head in my hands and sighed. Why.. After the shittest day this week, why must I be subjected to this bull.. I groaned quietly as I slowly got up and carried my tray over to the food bucket bench, set it down, lifted my plate which I had barely touched and scraped the contents into the already half full plastic bucket type basin. Setting it back onto the tray I felt eyes on me but did not show that I realised I was being watched as I slid my tray into a slot in the trolly. I looked up as I walked toward the dining hall door and saw Mrs Mckay standing there, waiting for me to follow her into the staffroom. What is she? Scared I'll do a runner? Fucksake. It's not as if there's anywhere To run anyway, I thought as I rolled my eyes inconspicuously. I followed her out with a tumbling sensation in my stomach. She was one of those people that always looked angry, but it was nothing to when she really was angry, so even when she was in a neutral mood she scared the shit out of you. I think she was nice underneath it all, just stressed with work and such. She was a maths teacher at my school, she never taught me though, and man was I glad of it. I hated maths, mostly because I found it very difficult and frustrating. If the teacher was showing us something on the board and asking us to explain some of it I could do it no problem, but when it came to actually working things out myself I always made little mistakes that resulted in me losing all or most of my marks in that question. Needless to say I wasn't loved by my maths teachers, whom all but one thought I was either stupid or that I simply didn't try at all, which I did.
When we were alone in the staffroom Mrs Mckay closed the door and in turn closed in on me. ''Now.. Faye, you have been late to dinner every day this week. Not only dinner, but breakfast too. Matron and the other mistresses have commented on the state of your room, it's unacceptable'' She said in her sharp tone. I looked about me as though searching for an excuse that would make everything better, but I couldn't find one.. Then the only place left to look was at her, she stood expectantly with her hand on her hip and the other resting on the desk. I bit my lip and to my shame, tears welled up in my eyes as I realised that the reason for all of this was because of how I'd been feeling over the past lock of months. That feeling that was impossible to shake. I didn't know what to call it, it was worse than unhappiness.. A sore ache on the inside that takes over every night causing me to be rendered almost catatonic until I fell asleep. The time between realising my inability to move and falling asleep would be filled with the feeling of something heavy on my chest, pushing down.. Making it very difficult to breathe. Struggling to breathe I would start to panic until my vision blurred out and I either lost consciousness or fell asleep in exhaustion. Finally tears slipped over my lids and slid down my face. She looked at me and slowly recognised that I was crying, her face turned from stern to slightly concerned but still hard. ''Is something the matter?'' she asked in a slightly sympathising voice, a moment passed but the tightness in my throat disallowed me to answer her. ''Faye.. You need to answer me, tell me what's wrong and I can try to help you'' she added. LIAR! YOU FUCKING LIAR!!! You couldn't even begin to understand what I'm feeling!! My thoughts screamed. I couldn't handle this. 'I.. I've just been having a rough couple of weeks at school, finding homeworks difficult and been shouted at by some of my teachers for not understanding stuff. I'm sorry miss.. It won't happen anymore..' I mumbled to her. She took in what I said and then replied ''Okay.. Well.. Just.. Tidy your area and try not to be late for breakfast and dinner anymore alright?'' in her still sharp tone that had been slightly dulled from my tears. There was a slight awkward moment until she quickly manouvered over to the door, opened it to let me out, in turn, letting others who had been waiting outside the door in. I ran up the stairs being careful not to slip as I had done many times before, sprinted down the corridor. I felt unsafe where people could stop me and ask me how I was, it mean't I had to say I was okay and I knew it wouldn't be convincing enough.
Thoughts ran through my mind as I lay on my bed. I needed to escape somehow but I had no idea how. I left my room in a daze with a scalpel hidden up my right sleeve, Turned right into the small hallway and through the door, then took and immediate left into the bathrooms where the bath is. Making sure the door was locked behind me I knelt down by the bathtub. I rolled up my left sleeve and slipped the scalpel out from underneath the right one, uncaring whether it slit me or not. Why am I doing this? I asked myself. What am I doing? my thoughts slurred to me, Who am I? I asked myself as my left hand holding the scalpel raised and slit across my arm. The blood lined up and dripped from my arm, into the bathtub. I became breathless and adrenaline fuelled as my right arm, now with a mind of it's own, slit again and again, over and over until the blood was no longer dripping but spilling from me. I started to feel dizzy and dropped the art knife into the bathtub, I started to shake violently and my breathing quickened significantly. W-what's happen...happening... to me...? my mind whispered almost incoherently. I turned the tap on and washed the blood from my arm, putting pressure above where the slicing had started to halt the bloodflow. I looked at the blood mixing in with the water as it washed away, swirling into the plughole. I watched it, staring with my eyes stuck in one position and my mouth slightly slack. Suddenly all realisation came flooding back to me I need to clean all of this up... I need to stop the bleeding completely, It's nearly lights out.. I applied more pressure and soon the blood stopped, I rolled down my left sleeve and waited until the water washed away all the blood in the bathtub, then got up, unlocked the door and went straight to bed.
Vicinity: My cubicle bedroom in Mc Arthur Hall. Time: 7:45AM
I woke to a knocking on my door and a voice calling me. ''Faye? Are you awake..?'' the expectant voice of one of the mistresses inquired. I sat up immediately, making sure I projected my voice appropriately and said 'Yes miss, just getting dressed, so please don't come in'. If I sat up and angled my head a certain way as I spoke to her she would think I really was standing getting dressed, because she'd know if I was still in bed by the way my voice sounded as it hit against objects in the room. I knew all the tricks, but then I'd been here too long not to. I heard her turn and say over her shoulder nervously ''Well.. Please make sure to be on time, it's quarter to eight, breakfast in fifteen minutes''. I felt bad then, I realised that it wasn't only me who would be reprimanded were I late, as I had been continually over the last few weeks. I let my feet touch the floor and shivered a little at the change of temperature as I looked about the room to find my tie, skirt and school shoes. Having located them where I left them the day before; I slipped on new underwear, a new pair of tights, a new shirt and then pulled my skirt up over my thighs, zipping a buttoning it as I kicked my tie into the air and caught it. I slid it around my neck over the collar of my shirt and assembled it correctly. I had a lingering thought in my mind, though I'm not sure I remember it now. I kept tightening my tie around my neck until it hurt and I couldn't breathe. I felt angry for some reason, perhaps it was to do with that thought. I could feel the muscles in my arms tightening as I did this. Pain started on my left arm and I looked to it, my grip then failing on the tie. I saw the slices, there must have been at least six to eight long wounds there, I was shocked and confused. After a moment my mind recalled the events of last night in the bathroom and I shoved off any emotion carelessly, as though it meant nothing. I heard people leaving their rooms to go to breakfast downstairs and figured it must have been around five to eight so I slipped on my shoes and left mine also, ignoring anyone that may want to ask me something stupid like what my sleep was like. I sauntered down to the breakfast hall and looked up at the mistress standing by the door to mark everyone who passed her into the roll book. She had a look of utmost relief on her face as she recognised my face walking toward her. I tried to smile at her but it didn't work so I just walked past her. Turning right I clicked my way up to the breakfast table that had been assigned to my yeargroup and sat in the seat I had chosen at the start of the year. No one commented on the black circles around my eyes and so I sat almost contently as I waited with all the rest for grace to be said. Mrs Peters stood and beckoned our attentions, the silence reigned for a moment and then she said grace to god for the food and water we would recieve that day. The ending of this sentence would signal to us on the lower floor that we could now go and fetch ourselves breakfast, and so we did. Some rushed, some, like me, dossed slowly toward whatever we wanted. I picked up a bowl and filled it quarter full with wheetos, then went back to my table, filled the bowl also then with milk that was already on the table and started all over again with my ritual of pretending to eat my breakfast for twenty minutes until we'd eventually be told we could leave to get ourselves ready for school that day.
I had nothing to do when I was back in my room but pick up my blazer and schoolbag so I left as soon as I had done so. It was about twenty-five past eight, so I had twenty minutes until it was time for tutor group, I checked my blazer pocket for my cigarettes and lighter, which I had. Thank fuck.. I could really do with a smoke I thought as I walked fast down the stairs again, signed out for school and went straight to the windy gap beside the gym we shared with Fullerton house. I hid myself skillfully in behind one of the huge stone cylinders that held up the structure, listened to make sure no one else was around and lit up a cigarette. Anyone that does walk past will only think its one of the janiters anyway I remarked to myself. Even still I was deathly quiet as I stood there perfectly stationary between draws, constantly listening for the clicking of heels of the scuff of shoes walking through to the double doors leading into M Block (the english department), holding my breath every time anyone did walk past. Finishing my last draws I dropped my cigarette and carefully stamped out any lingering embers that shone on the concrete as I exhaled the last of the smoke in my lungs. By now I felt suitably calm and ready to go to tutorial. I waited until there were no footsteps, walked around the corner and took out a peice of chewing gum as I pushed through the doors into M Block. I chewed as I walked up through the corridors, feeling my one shouldered bag fall back against my upper thigh as I did. I hated this school. I hadn't always hated it, but then again I hadn't always been this depressed. I suppose that's where it came from. Tutor group was a blur, I replied to my name being called and sooner or later we were being told to go to class. I left and went to my first class, which again, was a complete blur of being told to listen repeatedly and then ignored at the realisation that no matter how many times any teacher shouted, I wasn't going to pay attention. At break I went to S block and absorbed heat from my radiator until it was time to venture to my next class, where I continued to daydream rather than work. These days I rarely even noticed when my teachers had a go at me, so it no longer meant much to me. Classes came and went. The only ones I actually listened in were Science, Classical Civilisations and Latin. Art was a drag so I never really did anything in it other than draw things that were completely off topic to my portfolio. I liked drawing side-profile portraits of people. It doesn't matter who it is, I just loved drawing that type of thing. I also loved drawing mythical creatures, mostly because you could distort them in any way you wished; and it would still be correct. With some things there's a certain way to draw them, but when it came to mermaids, faeries and elves, you could literally create whatever you wanted. So I just sat at my desk and doodled my way through everyone in the class as they got on with their work.