Status: Complete as of October 29th, 2015.


Chapter 1

The smell of coffee woke me.

I cracked an eye open, the sunlight bright and falling onto the tray beside me on the couch: eggs, toast and a steaming mug. I sat up and stretched, reaching over to take the food. But the stillness of the apartment worried me.

"Carly?" I called.

When she appeared, all tangled brown hair and bright green eyes, I relaxed. I grinned as she sat down next to me.

"You're here," I said. "Thanks for the breakfast."

"You sound relieved, that I'm still here, I mean. I told you I'd spend the night." She smiled. "But you're welcome for the food. You should eat because you need the energy for today."

She was right. Today I started my official job as a psychiatrist. The receptionist in my office, who was a friend of mine, had offered to help me out. She called last night to let me know what kind of patients I'd have coming in. All of them seemed rather reluctant to talk to a stranger about their problems.

I could relate.

I ate quickly as Carly rummaged around for her shoes. She slipped them on and began to comb her hair with her fingers. "You know," she said, "you could always come to my place tonight, if you wanted. But if you're too tired after work, I could come back here later."

I smiled. "I'll let you know what I decide." Standing, I headed toward the shower, grabbing a towel from the closet. "You can let yourself out, but don't steal anything."

Carly laughed, brushed her lips against mine, told me to have a good day, and shut the door behind her.

Neither of us knew what I was really getting myself into.


My office was in a large beige building along main street. Anyone who came to see me would have to use the stairs to the second floor because the first floor, where my office was supposed to be located, wasn't finished yet.

Janna, my receptionist, was waiting for me. In her hands was a clipboard and a cup of coffee which she handed to me.

"Your first patient of the morning is here." She nodded at the cup in my hand. "You're going to need that to get through the day."

"Thank you," I said, taking a sip. I looked through the doors. "I really would love if the lower floor was finished, that why no one had to take the stairs."

Janna smiled wryly. "She's not too happy about having to take the stairs."

"She?" I wondered as we entered the building. "Oh, I see what you mean."

"The workers are getting around to it," Janna told me.

Inside was a wreck; a few chairs and a desk, half-painted walls and the smell of sawdust. Now I see why they moved my office. I opened the door to the stairwell and took the clipboard from Janna as we walked.

My face fell when I landed on the patients name.

"I'm sorry, Eli."

I sighed and dragged a hand through my hair.

Veronica Tanner was a patient at the hospital I worked at before I got my own practice. She was a young girl who had lost her mother and had taken to drinking to cope. One night, she was driving and got into an accident, and her friend died. After that, Veronica was sent to Ashcliffe on suicide watch.

She seemed to be doing okay for a while, and when a new boy was admitted, she was instantly smitten, and they became very friendly in a short amount of time. I had seen this boy on countless occasions. He was sick, and he never told her what was wrong.

She found him a week after their first kiss, in the bathtub of his room, the water red with his blood. After that, Veronica was completely inconsolable. Broken, even. She was a shell of herself, and all of what happened set her off again.

Months had gone by since I'd last seen any of my former patients - until today. But apparently some of them weren't willing to let me go.