[v] examine or inspect closely and thoroughly

The water in the tub that had started out scalding hot was now cold. The skin of my fingertips were thoroughly pruned, I felt waterlogged.

I thought about sliding down under the water and staying there until I hopefully drowned. But I knew the furthest I would get with that was blacking out. Pete would make sure I didn’t die too soon. He didn’t want me to get out of this situation.

A week had passed since that first horrible night, not that the nights between then and now had been any better. I just didn’t throw up quite as much.

My days were already starting to become routine. I slept through most of the day, and then Pete woke me up. We collected a soul, maybe two if we were really lucky. We came back to the apartment and I sobbed while the tub filled with the scalding hot water, and then I sat in the tub until the water became cold and tinged with pink and I considered going under. It was the same everyday.

I hated that in such a short span of time I was getting used to it. It’s not that I enjoyed it, but I could already sense that the movements were getting easier. Pete didn’t have to control my actions, I did. I pushed the same dagger into flesh night after night, not having any other choice. But I wanted the action to be my own, the only freedom I had left. I was terrified of the day when this no longer felt like a nightmare, and I could get any kind of meaningful sleep.

This was something I never wanted to get used to, but it felt inevitable.

And even though I knew it was difficult right now, ending the life of one person each night, for the past week, I knew it was only going to get more intense.

When we had returned the second night, after Pete had had to help me along a bit in getting the job done, he had informed me that there was more than one soul to collect in a night. As soon as we returned to the apartment, Pete would leave and did not return until after the water in the tub had gotten cold. I would leave the bathroom and find him sitting on the edge of my bed.

It was here on the second night that he told me he was easing me into all of this.

“You should feel lucky,” he had said. “I’m really taking it slow with you. Next week it will be two souls a night, and so on. So prepare yourself.”

I sighed and carefully stood up in the tub, really hoping that I would slip and fall, my head cracking open as easily as an egg on the porcelain lip, my blood spilling out onto the floor and mixing in the already murky water. I smiled at the thought. I knew it wouldn’t happen and I knew that even if it did, Pete would undo it. But I could at least imagine it, imagine what that peace would feel like.

I wrapped a towel around me, water dripping on the floor, not caring but this wasn’t my home even if I did live here. Although, I don’t think it could constitute as living, more like existing. I only existed here in some sense. This wasn’t living. I was dying slowly.

Pete was sitting on the edge of the bed as usual when I entered my bedroom.

“Enjoy your bath?” he questioned, smirking as usual.

I stood several feet from him, watching him carefully.

“Why do you insist on waiting in here for me to come out when you come back?” I asked instead.

“Don’t think for a moment that I don’t know what you think about in there,” he answered, nodding towards the bathroom. “I wait here to make sure you come out. It’s easier to bring you back if your body is still fresh.”

He stood up from the bed, stepping closer to me. I didn’t move.

“In case you’d forgotten, tomorrow you’ll start colleting two souls.”

“I haven’t forgotten,” I met his eyes with anger. I was always angry, or incredibly sad. I hadn’t felt happy in a while. First I was trapped by Seth, and now I was trapped by Pete. I hadn’t been free for a long time either.

Pete studied my face for a moment.

“If you’re good this week,” he started. “I will give you the night off next Saturday.”

My eyes widened and I felt myself gaping at Pete.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied. “But I expect you to not complain, and I do not want to have to interfere in the completion of the task. You are to do it entirely yourself, and with little to no hesitation.”

I swallowed a lump in my throat, knowing that it would be difficult. But a small glimmer of freedom was within my reach, and I couldn’t deny myself that. I needed it.

“Fine,” I said. “Deal.”

“Careful with that word,” Pete said, laughing softly. “I don’t think you want to create any actual deal’s with me. Think of it as more of a reward.”
♠ ♠ ♠


Eh, kind of short. I'll try and make the next chapter longer.

I posted a short Pete Wentz story if any of you are interested: Only Say My Name