She walks up the stairs, and straight away my heart leaps from my chest, beating a staccato that raps into my throat, the pulse point at my wrist, all throughout my body. I go from steady to strung-out in the blink of an eye.
“Mum,” I call, and this time on the staircase, she spins around.
“Yes?” She frowns.
Don’t go up there,
I try to say the words, but my stupid voice won’t work. My mouth moves, but no sound comes out, and Mum tilts her head to the side. “Lia …”
I try to scream so loud my lungs hurt, and still, nothing.
Don’t go into your bedroom.
You can’t see that.
It will ruin you.
“Lia, you’re normally such a sensible girl.” She sighs and turns her back, then walks up the stairs again.
My voice mightn’t work but my feet do, and I charge after her, leaping up those stairs two at a time. She floats down the hall toward their room, and I run, run as fast as I can, and grab onto her shoulder just as she tightens her grip on the door.
“Lia, will you drop it?” She turns to face me. “I’m just going to see if your father is home. What harm could I possibly do?”
My stupid voice is without once again, and as I try to yell at her, to tell her that no, she shouldn’t go in there, that seeing what’s behind that door will destroy her—
She twists the handle.
She opens the door.
And she screams.
And straight away I’m back on the couch, hearing that blood-curdling noise that chills me to my very bones, that signifies the start of the end of life as I know it. I race up the stairs to try help her, to try and make it stop, but when I get there she has collapsed in the hall.
She’s broken. And nothing I try to do will fix that.