My hair was still sopping wet and I smelled of lavender vanilla, but I still felt filthy. Claw marks and bruises purpled my skin. They were as black as my imagined sins.
“It’s not your fault,” said the detective.
But I didn’t scream loud enough. You could have fought harder, my brain says. You could have stopped it.
If I yelled loud enough in my mind, I could drown out the accusative chorus.
My face was sallow, cheekbones rising like a mountain range over the plains of my jaws, my eyes wide empty pools. They once contained great lakes but their reservoirs overflowed. The dams couldn’t hold out much longer.
I said hello to my roommate, but she just shrank away from me like a stricken dog. Alternately, she would be my house elf butler, the polar shifts prodded my mind.
You wanted attention, didn’t you?
I massaged my temples as I took in my stark surroundings. White walls. White carpet. White furniture.
My roommate had retreated to her bunker.
My cell vibrated on the kitchen counter, 10 new messages. Maybe I should have gone today, I thought. I scrolled through the new messages again until I found it.
Guilty. 7 years.
But the relief I had prayed for hadn’t come. I found myself in the living room and sank into the sofa, alone with my greatest allies and enemies: my thoughts.