I could see the light. Barely, but it was still there. Trying to focus on it in the distance only seemed to make it harder to isolate, so I stopped trying. The ringing in my ears was too loud for me to even think. I felt the need to cough, but my throat burned at the thought. I couldn’t determine where the pain was coming from; it just seemed to be randomly spread out across my body.
I tried to relax. Even breathing in and out was a struggle. My thoughts seemed jumbled somehow; as if nothing coherent was going on in my head. I felt my senses on hyper-alert, yet my body wouldn’t respond to a single one of my commands – almost like I wasn’t in control anymore.
The cloud over my head felt like it was slowly becoming less murky. The ringing started to subside, just to be replaced by someone’s murmuring. This noise stayed consistent, like a bee buzzing furiously in my eardrum. I wanted to pinpoint the voice so badly because it seemed…. desperate for me to listen; like it was frantically trying to get a message across, but couldn’t. I didn’t understand why it sounded so sad. Whoever it was didn’t have a reason to be upset, did they?
Everything after that was just a blur, so I’m not even clear how I got here. I think Martin drove me, or maybe it was Jamie. Right now I don’t know which of the boys is sitting by me, holding my hand. Their grip is meant to be reassuring, but it’s just clammy and drenched in sweat. I want to tell them to leave; that they shouldn’t have to see this. Well, that’s what I would tell them.
The truth is, all I can see in front of me is a pale silhouette, and behind my eyelids I see flashes of red on white. Sirens are constantly going off in my head, while I feel the gnawing in my stomach increase. It doesn’t feel as if I am actually sitting here.
People just scurry around me, doing whatever needs to be done. I hear ticks on a clipboard occasionally being made, or the shuffling of feet across the hospital floor. I think I have been here a while, but my body’s reached the point where the fear that’s been oozing out of me has frozen my perception of time since we received the phone call.
When I’m alone, I keep replaying the scene in my head, always on a loop. Every time, I can’t pinpoint where it got out of hand: when I lost control; my weight coming down on Lily’s; the gravel embedding itself into her skin and mine; the way my whole chest dropped and made me feel as if I was going to throw up. The thought of confronting what had happened – and speaking to Lily’s mum – left me in a state of frenzy while awake, and in a state of torment in my dreams.
“If she dies, it’s your fault.”
Even though she stated it so matter-of-factly, like we were having a simple debate, it still felt like I was being stabbed in the gut.
“Honestly, I didn’t mean to! You have to believe me!” The urgency in my voice made me sound pathetic and weedy, even to my own ears.
She laughed, genuinely. She even smiled at me.
“Oh honey, you know I don’t blame you, right? I’m in your head. You blame yourself for this.”
“What? No! I know you’re angry at me, and you think I’m guilty.”
“No no no, my dear. Remember, you got on that motorbike to drop her home after your argument. You were the one with road rage. Maybe you wanted to knock her off the bike, and you didn’t even realise till it was too late.”
“WHAT? That’s mad. Miss Williamson, I think you need to calm down,” I managed to say.
“Oh, I’m perfectly all right.” She paused for a moment and tilted her head to one side. She leaned towards me and whispered in my ear.
“Wake up, Harry. Time to admit what you did.”
“I…I didn’t do anything,” I rasped.
“Yes, you did.”
She took a step back to observe me. Her eyebrows furrowed and the corners of her mouth pointed downward to form a disapproving frown.
“Harry, you’re the one who killed my baby girl.”