I fell to my knees on the cold tiles and buried my face in my hands.
What have I done?
The voice in my mind cried a lament for the loss of my salvation and kicked off the chain reaction that threatened to drive off the last of my sanity. My chest constricted, my heart sped, and I couldn’t focus on anything but the rising panic clawing at my throat—the beast the alcohol would have appeased. Closing my eyes, I ran my affirming mantra through my head. I can get through this; I’ve had one before and I made it through then. I can get through this; I’ve had one before and I made it through then.
It barely worked, but barely was enough. After another couple of calming breaths, I stood. Without another glance, I turned my back on the alcohol-stained, glass-filled tub to drag myself into my bedroom.
I’d intended to cocoon myself under my blankets, but simply stepping foot into that room filled the space with inescapable memories. Ghosts of the past rose up to surround me, boxing me in with my own regret. The gasps and wanton cries of so many random screws flooded the space around me. Although I preferred my conquests far away from my private areas, there were still plenty that had made it through the door. Who’d given themselves to the great Declan Reede to do with as he pleased.
It was no wonder Alyssa was gone. No wonder she didn’t want to put up with my shit anymore. I was poison of the worst kind. Even though I hadn’t cheated on her while we’d been together, I’d done it so often in the time we were apart. Each time I’d bedded a new woman, it was always a way to stave away visions of Alyssa for just one more night. Even when I hadn’t admitted it to myself, I loved her. And yet, I’d fucked them all.
Needing a place as dark as I was inside, I squeezed into a tight corner in the back of my wardrobe, shutting out both light and life. It hid me from the ghosts and the demons that haunted my bedroom and quietened the cacophony of remembered moans in my mind.
Safely tucked away, I let the pain take me. Every tear I’d ever held in. Every curse I’d ever bitten back. Every bit of pain and agony that I’d ever suppressed came to the surface. A wave of remorse so powerful it threatened to wipe away every piece of me rose up, and I curled in on myself, letting it sweep me into the abyss.
Four years of wasted life ripped into my chest like a monster from a childhood nightmare, tearing me apart at the seams.
My throat was dry and ached with my need for a drink. My lips were parched and no matter how many times I wet them, they ached. Only booze would soothe the fire, but I’d smashed every bottle and lost every drop.
Fucking idiot! How could you be so stupid?
The pounding in my head crashed against my skull so hard that it rattled my mind and left me breathless.
Michelle Irwin has been many things: a hobbit taking a precious item to a fiery mountain; a young child stepping through the back of a wardrobe into another land; the last human stranded not-quite-alone in space three million years in the future; and a time-travelling madman in a box. All of these feats and many more were achieved through her voracious reading. Eventua
lly, the cast inside h
er mind took over and spilled onto the page.
Michelle lives in sunny Queensland in the land down under. A lover of love and overcoming the odds, she primarily writes paranormal and fantasy romance.