Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5)(10)

She’d been locked up for almost a year and had not lost her sense of humanity. I wanted to know how she could suppress so much; how she’d achieved such outward calm. I’d asked for profiles on the other prisoners because I wanted comparisons. I wanted to know if her behavior was normal.

It wasn’t.

I watched the unassuming outline of this girl I could not see and did not know, and I felt an unbelievable amount of respect for her. I admired her, envied her composure—her steadiness in the face of all she’d been forced to endure. I don’t know that I understood what it was, exactly, I was feeling at the time, but I knew I wanted her all to myself.

I wanted to know her secrets.

And then one day, she stood up in her cell and walked over to the window. It was early morning, just as the sun was rising; I caught a glimpse of her face for the very first time. She pressed her palm to the window and whispered two words, just once.

Forgive me.

I hit rewind too many times.

I could never tell anyone I’d developed a newfound fascination with her. I had to effect a pretense, an outward indifference—an arrogance—toward her. She was to be our weapon and nothing more, just an innovative instrument of torture.

A detail I cared very little about.

My research had led me to her files by pure accident. Coincidence. I did not seek her out in search of a weapon; I never had. Far before I’d ever seen her on film, and far, far before I ever spoke a word to her, I had been researching something else. For something else.

My motives were my own.

Utilizing her as a weapon was a story I fed to my father; I needed an excuse to have access to her, to gain the necessary clearance to study her files. It was a charade I was forced to maintain in front of my soldiers and the hundreds of cameras that monitor my existence. I did not bring her on base to exploit her ability. And I certainly did not expect to fall for her in the process.

But these truths and my real motivations will be buried with me.

I fall hard onto the bed. Clap a hand over my forehead, drag it down the length of my face. I never would’ve sent Kent to stay with her if I could’ve taken the time to go myself. Every move I made was a mistake. Every calculated effort was a failure. I only wanted to watch her interact with someone. I wondered if she’d seem different; if she’d shatter the expectations I’d already formed in my mind by simply having a normal conversation. But watching her talk to someone else made me crazy. I was jealous. Ridiculous. I wanted her to know me; I wanted her to talk to me. And I felt it then: this strange, inexplicable sense that she might be the only person in the world I could really care about.

I force myself to sit up. I hazard a glance at the notebook still clutched in my hand.

I lost her.

She hates me.

She hates me and I repulse her and I might never see her again, and it is entirely my own doing. This notebook might be all I have left of her. My hand is still hovering over the cover, tempting me to open it and find her again, even if it’s only for a short while, even if it’s only on paper. But part of me is terrified. This might not end well. This might not be anything I want to see. And so help me, if this turns out to be some kind of diary concerning her thoughts and feelings about Kent, I might just throw myself out the window.

I pound my fist against my forehead. Take a long, steadying breath.

Finally, I flip it open. My eyes fall to the first page.

And only then do I begin to understand the weight of what I’ve found.

I keep thinking I need to stay calm, that it’s all in my head, that everything is going to be fine and someone is going to open the door now, someone is going to let me out of here. I keep thinking it’s going to happen. I keep thinking it has to happen, because things like this don’t just happen. This doesn’t happen. People aren’t forgotten like this. Not abandoned like this.

This doesn’t just happen.

My face is caked with blood from when they threw me on the ground, and my hands are still shaking even as I write this. This pen is my only outlet, my only voice, because I have no one else to speak to, no mind but my own to drown in and all the lifeboats are taken and all the life preservers are broken and I don’t know how to swim I can’t swim I can’t swim and it’s getting so hard. It’s getting so hard. It’s like there are a million screams caught inside of my chest but I have to keep them all in because what’s the point of screaming if you’ll never be heard and no one will ever hear me in here. No one will ever hear me again.

I’ve learned to stare at things.

The walls. My hands. The cracks in the walls. The lines on my fingers. The shades of gray in the concrete. The shape of my fingernails. I pick one thing and stare at it for what must be hours. I keep time in my head by counting the seconds as they pass. I keep days in my head by writing them down. Today is day two. Today is the second day. Today is a day.


It’s so cold. It’s so cold it’s so cold.

Please please please

I slam the cover shut.

I’m shaking again, and this time I can’t stop it. This time the shaking is coming from deep within my core, from a profound realization of what I’m holding in my hands. This journal is not from her time spent here. It has nothing to do with me, or Kent, or anyone at all. This journal is a documentation of her days spent in the asylum.

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