The sky was quiet. Its only occupants were bruised clouds, scattered across the charcoal coloured background. Without warning, dazzling fireworks began to erupt, illuminating my beautiful city with vibrant colours. The smell of sulphur aroused my nostrils, beckoning me towards the mass of fireworks that were being let off just metres away. The crowd around me had begun to sing and cheer, as the chimes of the cities clock rippled through the streets for New Year. Allowing my gaze to fall onto my room mate, who was approaching fast, but noticeably unsteady. Losing her footing, she came tumbling down. Catching her in my arms, a drunken smile crept onto her face.
“You always manage to catch me when I fall, and I don’t just mean physically…” Raven said with a slur, her blonde highlighted hair hiding her face. Smiling down at her, I knew that I would always be there to catch her. She was my best friend.
“Come on drunky, let’s go help you throw up!” I whispered, as she threw her head back and groaned.
Standing behind Raven, her limp body rested against the side of the bathroom cabinet, whilst her head was perched perfectly on the side of the toilet bowl. I noticed patches of Ravens hair were darker than the rest. Carefully, I reached down to move some of the hair from her face, but trying not to startle her. I expected her hair to be crunchy, as she always used mousse to allow her natural curls to flow. Tonight, It felt damp and sticky to the touch. Pulling my hand away from Raven’s hair, I brought it to my nose.
“Its my sick bitch!” Raven shouted, as she giggled against the cold porcelain.
Catching a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, my rosy cheeks had lost their colour, and my brown eyes looked like two sunken bowling balls. My legs began to tremble, and every atom in my body was electrified.
“Oh shit, I forgot you had a phobia of sick! Hey Jemma? Stay with me girl…” Ravens voice began to drift off as my body went into panic. From what I could remember about my childhood, I had always suffered from panic attacks, even over the littlest things.
Collapsing to the floor, with nothing but the sound of my heart beat in my ears, I started to feel little droplets of sweat trickling down my face, as I fought to catch my breath. Raven stumbled back into the bathroom with reinforcements. I had to hand it to her, she always managed to surprise me with how effective she can still function when drunk. My other room mate, Kevin, placed a damp yellow cloth against my forehead, and then against the back of my neck. Slowly but surely, I was able to hear Kevin and Raven’s conversation, as the sound of my heart beat faded away.
“Are you with us, Jemma?” Kevin asked, concern flooding his words.
I opened my mouth to assure them that I was going to be okay, but my voice was hoarse, not allowing the words to leave my mouth. Clearing my throat, I met Kevin’s gaze. Nodding towards them both, I tried to assure them and myself that I was okay.
“I sent everyone home except Becky. She’s downstairs cleaning up the living room.” Raven said gleefully. Excited as a child on Christmas day, that her girlfriend agreed to stay the night for the first time.
Kevin ushered me into my room, placing me gently on to my bed before leaving. Glancing around, I suddenly felt safe, protected and understood. The posters on my wall of my favourite musicals dazzled my eyes for the thousandth time. The comfort of my soft, shaggy blanket that Raven had bought me for Christmas. The smell of my favourite Chanel perfume that my mum had gotten me, just because. As usual my night was eventful, but again as always, I ruined it with a panic attack. I’ve promised myself time and time again that I would try and control them. That I should possibly get help to control them. I don’t know why, but I always feel lost when it comes to decisions about myself.
Placing my index finger in the hoop of my zip, I yanked it down rapidly, hoping that the speed would not cause the zip to get stuck on the fabric like the many times before. Letting my silver, sequined dress fall to the floor, I lazily kicked it to the side of the bed as I approached my dresser. Gentle tapping against my bedroom door startled me. Grabbing my dressing gown from my wardrobe, I rushed to where the noise was coming from. Kevin stood outside, his brows furrowed with concern.
“Jemma, Becky just told me that she heard someone being sick earlier, but she doesn’t know if it’s in your room…” His voice trailed off as he scanned my room behind me.
A thunderous bang hurled its way through the house, frightening me. A sound of steps over shattered glass was the only noise I could hear before Kevin bolted inside my room and closed the door behind us, quickly turning off the light.
“Kevin, where did you put your snooker que?” I whispered, knowing it was the only form of defence we probably had close at hand. The foot steps got closer to my bedroom door, and Kevin’s eyes darted from one side of the room to the other, until his gaze fell onto the window.
“Do you think you’d be able to–“ his sentence got cut short by the bedroom door forcefully swinging open, and the light being turned on.
A tall, slender man stood in the door way, his white shirt and black army boots were covered in blue, yellow and red paint. His furious facial expression would have put Gordon Ramsey’s to shame. In his right hand he held what looked like a thirty ounce petrol can, as his left hand balled into a fist.
“Jeremy! You almost gave us a fucking heart attack!” Kevin shouted with relief, as my boyfriend Jeremy took a step forward, glaring at me.
“So I heard something tonight, and I’m going to give you one fucking chance to explain yourself.” His voice was filled with anger.
‘Excu… what? I don’t understand…’ I stuttered, fearfully.
Jeremy took another step forward, his menacing eyes locked firmly onto Kevin. Jeremy set the petrol can down on the floor, and followed Kevin’s movements as he stood in front of me, blocking his view. Peeking over Kevin’s shoulder, Jeremy pulled a large bowie knife out from behind his back, a gift that his late father had left him.
“Please Jeremy.” I whimpered from behind Kevin, “I haven’t done anything. I don’t know what you could possibly have been told to make you act like this!” I cried, as I held onto Kevin’s arm. Again, Jeremy took a step forward. Gripping the knife so tightly that his knuckles were white.
“You cheated on me, you fucking bitch!” Jeremy screamed, “They told me you cheated on me with this piece of shit!” Jeremy continued as he pointed the knife at Kevin.
Kevin began to speak as he shielded me behind him.
“Jeremy, I don’t know what you’ve been told, but that just isn’t true. Me and Jemm—“ before Kevin could finish his sentence, Jeremy lunged at him, plunging the knife deep into his heart and twisting it. Blood began to pour from Kevin’s chest, mouth and nose.
“Don’t ever let me hear her name from your mouth again, or I’ll cut your fucking tongue out.” Jeremy said through clenched teeth, spitting on Kevin’s limp body, as he fell to the ground.
My throat was tight, as if fear had its hands wrapped around it. I watched the blood slither it’s way from Kevin’s dying body, to my bare feet. The colour from Kevin’s tanned face had all drained away, his eyes staring tirelessly into nothing. Streams of tears flooded my face, and undoubted dread pierced my heart as I looked at Jeremy. He took two steps back, wiping Kevin’s blood from his knife onto his white shirt.
“Are you going to lie to me again?” He asked as he tucked the knife into his belt.
“Jeremy, I promise. I PROMISE!” I pleaded with him, “I am telling you the truth. I haven’t cheated on you with Kevin, I haven’t cheated on you with anyone. I don’t know who—“ I faltered as Jeremy slammed his fist into the wall beside him. Drawing his fist back, he drove it again into the wall. Pieces of plaster scattered all around him. Turning his body towards me, I could see the betrayal he felt in his eyes.
“You know what?” he asked rhetorically, “I am the best thing that has ever happened to you. I gave you everything. I gave you confidence. I allowed you to wear clothes you were too fat to wear. You’re nothing but a fat fucking bitch, who doesn’t deserve me.” His voice began to get louder, as he beat at his chest like an aggravated gorilla, trying to assert its dominance.
Glancing at the door behind him, I began plotting my escape. Whilst Jeremy was distracted, I darted for the door, when suddenly – a blur distorted my vision, and a loud crack ripped through my eardrums. I stumbled back against the window of my bedroom, holding my face in my hands. An unearthly burn overwhelmed every nerve ending in my body, forcing my knees to collapse from beneath me. Lowering my hands from my face, I studied the warm, bright red liquid that occupied them. Turning his back to me, Jeremy reached for the petrol can. Feeling the adrenaline surge through my veins, I again made a run for it. Swiftly but silently I got to my feet, and bolted for the door. Suddenly, I felt my whole body jerk backwards. With my hair wrapped around his hand, Jeremy forced me to look into his eyes.
“I am better than you. I am better than that piece of shit you cheated on me with. I—“ he paused, as my blood filled spit ran down his face. His facial expression went from surprise to exasperation within seconds, as I climbed to my feet.
“You’re constantly telling me that I’m no good, and that you are better than me. If that’s true, why are you so insecure that you believe someone as fat and ugly as me, could cheat on you? You’re filled with illogical pride! And your pride will be your biggest downfall.” I said, my words drowning with venom.
Seeing the cogs in his mind turning, I took my last chance and rushed for the window, only to be tackled to the floor. Jeremy held himself above me, gripping my face with his hand, forcing me to look at him once more, and held the bowie knife in his hand once again. Thrashing about on the floor, struggling to topple Jeremy from above me, a sharp sensation in my stomach caught my breath in my throat. Feeling like a hot iron poker had penetrated my skin, with its heated fingers digging around for buried treasure.
As I lay in my pain fuelled state, my eyes followed Jeremy as he began pacing near my feet.
“YOU DONT UNDERSTAND. YOU DONT UNDERSTAND!” He began screaming, repeating the same words over and over again. Stopping short of the bed, looking back at me, he muttered the words, “But you will.”
His skeletal fingers wrapped themselves around the handle of the petrol can. Tearing off the lid, he tossed it onto Kevin’s dead body. His long, skinny legs allowed him to make it over to the opposite side of the room in two large strides. As I watched him ponder for a moment, I could see Raven and Becky across the hall. Their exposed skin clung to each other in horror, as they watched the blood leak from my body.
‘Go and call the police.’ I mouthed, hoping that they would be able to get to safety, as I knew it was too late for myself.
I heard a glugging noise coming from Jeremy’s direction. The sound a bottle makes when you decanter liquid quickly. I felt something wet suddenly touch my hand, my nostrils widened in alarm, as I noticed the smell around me. Petrol. Jeremy had covered every inch of the room in petrol, except for the two of us.
“You’re right, my pride will be the downfall of me. But it will also be the downfall of you.” He said through gritted teeth, as he took out a box of matches from his pocket.
“IF I CANT HAVE YOU, NO ONE WILL EVER HAVE YOU, I’LL MAKE SURE OF THAT!” He screamed in my face, tears falling from his eyes as he lit the match.
The entire world had gone silent, as my tear-filled eyes watched my life burn away. The match stick dove head first into the petrol, setting it alight. Every drop of petrol caught fire, incinerating everything around us. Its forceful nature tearing through my home, its devilish eyes watching me struggle for breath. The heat danced around me as gaily as an elf, moving in closer. Unable to move, the flames crept over my skin, and dissolving my hair. The skin on my legs began to peel away, shedding as I sluggishly kicked about, trying to put the fire out. The nerve endings in my body screamed in agony, as my dressing gown set aflame. Struggling to move, my body started to shake as I silently cried, knowing that what Jeremy said was true. No one will ever have me, and he has made sure of that…