Home > Unveiled (The Unveiling #1)

Unveiled (The Unveiling #1)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

One

Rain pours from the sky and splatters against the window of my loft. Lightning flashes, illuminating the view of the buildings outside and my nearly empty bedroom. I shudder as the thunder grumbles from close by.

I’ve always had an irrational fear of storms; terrified I’ll somehow end up getting struck by lightning. Even indoors, the fear plagues me. Usually, turning on the lights and getting a cup of tea and a good book alleviates my uneasiness. But that all changed the day I committed the worst sin of my life. It was raining that day, and now, not even a book and tea can stop the fear.

Instead of getting up to put a kettle on the stove, I remain lying in my bed. My room is pitch black, except for the occasional flash of lightning. I’ve been like this for days now and haven’t done laundry or the dishes in over a week. The yoga pants and tank top I’m wearing reek of stale chips, my unwashed hair is a tangled messed, and I desperately need a shower.

I should get up, shower, and clean my house. I should be finding a way to pay off my debt and get back on my feet.

I should have done all this weeks ago.

But I’m so tired of everything. Of life. Of thinking about what I did that night.

I roll onto my side, curl into a ball, and drag the blanket over my head. Every single one of my muscles ache, every breath hurts, and every thought makes me restless. I just want to go to sleep and stop thinking, but I can’t get my mind to shut off. I keep overanalyzing all of my mistakes and the bad decisions that led to me getting kicked out of culinary school. How, for the last couple of months, I have been selling most of my stuff to pay rent, all because I lost my money by trusting someone I shouldn’t have. Then, this morning, I called in sick from work again, and my boss threatened to fire me if I didn’t make it in tomorrow.

I need that job at the café. It’s the only thing I have left that hasn’t gone to shit—well, besides my relationship with my brothers and sisters. However, they live in the States, and I’m here in London.

All alone.

By choice, I remind myself. Because of what you did.

No! Stop thinking about that! You need to stop!

I sink deeper into the bed and fall into memories of how I ended up in this point in my life, and how I chose to move here two years ago, right after I graduated high school.

I once wanted to be here. Now the loneliness has worn me down, and the quiet leaves too much time to focus on my mistakes, my worries, and all my aches and pain. Aches and pain connected to that night when blood stained my hands.

My hands begin to tremble, as if remembering, but I shove the thoughts aside, knowing I’ll end up throwing up if I don’t.

You have to stop thinking about this! What happened … It was an accident.

Wasn’t it?

I wish I knew the truth. No, what I wish is that that night never happened.

What I wish is that I could call up my mom and talk until that weighted knot in my chest begins to unwind and the haze in my head fades. But she and my dad died in a car accident over a year ago, gone as fast as my heart takes its next beat.

I miss them so, so much.

I need them so much.

I miss a lot of people back home, like my brothers and sisters and … and Milo.

Milo …

Two years ago, I could have called him. He used to be able to make me feel better, even on my crappiest days. But I ruined that relationship, like I ruined everything else in my life.

I screwed up everything.

I’m an awful person.

I stare down at my hands again as visions of that night two months ago pierce into my brain.

I had been partying all night, bouncing from club to club, and stumbled into a woman around my age who was visiting from the States. Her name was Rae, and we quickly bonded over drunken talk, shots, and chatting about life in America. When my friends were ready to leave, I wanted to stay. So, they left me with Rae, figuring I’d be okay since my apartment was only a few blocks away.

Then we met these guys, Cole and Del, and they started buying us a round of shots, saying, “Let’s play a drinking game.” It wasn’t the only game they wanted to play.

I don’t remember too much after that, only bits and pieces, until I woke up early the next morning. That I remember as clearly as if it happened yesterday.

My hands begin to shake violently as I picture the blood covering my fingers, dripping down my palms …

Just like they were that morning.

Thunder booms from outside, and I sink deeper into my bed, deeper into the dark. I need to find a way to get up, call and talk to someone, tell them what I did, and hope they’ll understand. I don’t have any close friends out here, and I lost touch with everyone back in my hometown of Honeyton, even people I care for. I could call one of my brothers or sisters, but they have their own problems and don’t need me telling them this godawful secret that will destroy them. They don’t need me to ruin their happiness. And I’m twenty years old, for God’s sake. I should be able to get my ass out of bed by myself and walk to the police station, like I’ve been contemplating since that morning.

Sucking in a deep breath, I throw the blanket off my head and sit up. I comb my fingers through my shoulder-length brown hair, frowning at the sight of my room. A few boxes in the corner, a computer perched on a cracked desk, my mattress, clothes, and a few shoes are pretty much all that’s left of my life. In a couple of weeks, I won’t even have a roof over my head.

And it all started because of a stupid mistake.

A mistake I can’t even remember doing!

More weight piles on my shoulders, making it difficult to remain sitting up.

God, I just want to go back to bed and die.

Forcing myself to stay upright, I pick up my phone, unlock the screen, and check my messages. Five missed texts and one voicemail. I listen to the voicemail first, figuring it’s from Annabella, my eighteen-year-old sister who just graduated high school. She probably wants to know when I’m heading home for the summer. I haven’t bought a ticket yet and can’t afford one when I’ve barely been working lately.

Vomit burns at the back of my throat as images of that night flash through my mind again.

“Don’t you trust me?”

“Don’t you trust me?”

“Don’t you trust me?”

“Come home with us.”

Rae nods. I hesitate, unsure. Yet, my drunken mind tells me it’s okay. That it’ll be fun. That these guys are hot.

I should’ve made us leave.

His voice echoes through my mind. “Just close your eyes and play the game.”

I can still feel the ropes on my wrists, biting into my skin. As for the game, I don’t remember playing it. All I know is that I woke up covered in blood, and she was …

No, don’t think about it! I scream to myself. God, I wish I could forget!

I should go to the police.

But what if I get arrested?

Those guys … They told me they’d tell the cops I did it.

I wish I could flee, leave London, but I’m in desperate need of cash. The only way I will be able to go home is if I call Loki, my older brother, and ask him for money. It’s not like he wouldn’t give me any, and if this were all happening a couple of years ago, I would call him in a heartbeat. However, after our parents died, Loki was given guardianship of our three younger sisters and brother and now he’s too overwhelmed to help me. Even if he’ll never admit it.

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