If you need to get caught up, you can do it here.
As always, this comes with a TRIGGER WARNING. Stay safe.
Title Lyrics: 'Rain City' by Turin Brakes
CHAPTER THREE (continued)
That night she dreams about the boy.
He is standing beside her bed, watching her sleep. She is in the corner of the room, watching. He crouches down beside the sleeping her, reaching to tuck a stray strand of her hair behind her ear. Across the room, she feels his fingers sweep across her face. He leans forward, whispering something into her ear. She watches herself stir and sigh. He smiles.
She looks around to see who has spoken. There’s nobody there.
Adam, Adam, Adam.
He stiffens and straightens up, turning towards her. He looks right at her, though he doesn’t seem surprised to see a second Autumn shrinking back against the wall.
Adam, Adam, Adam. ADAM.
He takes a step towards her, and his lips move soundlessly. She struggles to hear what he is saying.
She opens her mouth to speak, but nothing comes out. She tries again, but her throat feels as though she has swallowed a pint of glue. He reaches out for her and she has an overwhelming urge to take his hand. She tries, but like her voice, her hand refuses to co-operate. Her eyes widen in fear and she tries to take a step forward. She remains rooted to the spot.
He stops talking and lowers his hand, turning away sadly. She wants to shout out to him, wants him to stay, but the words never leave her lips. He returns to the bed and whispers something in her ear. His body starts to fade. After a moment he disappears altogether, leaving her alone with the sleeping version of herself.
She opens one eye slowly, squinting into the darkness. A small figure is standing by her bedside, clutching a stuffed elephant.
“Can I sleep in your bed?”
She nods and shuffles back, making room. Teddy climbs in and scurries under the covers, pressing his body against hers. His toes are cold and she shivers, pushing him away.
“I need my space, kid,” she murmurs, moving back further. “Don’t put your freezing feet on me.”
“But I’m cold and you’re so warm. You’re like a bottle of hot water.”
She opens her eyes.
“A bottle of hot water.”
She scoffs softly, smiling. “A hot water bottle,” she corrects. “It’s called a hot water bottle.”
“That’s what I said.”
“No, you said a bottle of hot water.”
Teddy yawns and wiggles closer to her, fitting himself into the curve of her body.
“Same diff?” She chuckles, shaking her head. “Unbelievable.”
They both fall silent, and after a few minutes Teddy’s breathing falls into a rhythmic pattern. She puts her arm around him, holding him against her the way he is he holding his elephant. She closes her eyes, immediately seeing the boy’s face.
The name sounds familiar and it tugs at her, nagging her to remember. Wasn’t there an Adam at her old school?
Adam. Adam, Adam, Adam.
She sits up, gasping. She covers her hands with her mouth, supressing the scream she can feel building inside her chest. Adam McKenzie. Adam McKenzie. Adam McKenzie.
Teddy shifts in his sleep, mumbling something incoherent. She squeezes her eyes shut, willing the memory to fade away, but it is so bright and sharp that it cuts straight through her. Two fatalities: Elizabeth Matthews and Adam McKenzie. Adam. Adam. Adam.
The boy she killed.