I try, wanna forgive but you lied all over again.
So I can't forget, forget what you did and
Now your words can't kill what's already dead....
Already dead, Cherri Bomb.
The life I have is, to sum it up, is easily misunderstood. People can be really shallow and judgmental, or sometimes it's the case where people just don't understand and don't care enough to bother to ask questions. Some people think I was pregnant or battling cancer or some other disease seeing as I was out of school for almost my entire 'junior' year (please note the air quotes) despite me switching schools. There are some people who think I'm super stuck-up because of my appearance, when in fact almost all of my clothes come from thrift and consignment shops. There are people who appreciate physics and chemistry as much as I do, but they don't realize I like science. It kind of makes sense that they don't know because when the teachers posted class rank sheets I was in the top ten in almost every class I took anyway. How good I am at a subject won't give away how much I like the subject.
High school is rough. There are assignments to keep up with, stuff to learn, tests to study for, and drama to deal with. More drama for the popular crowd, it seems like. There were the typical preppy kids, jocks, nerds, cheerleaders who don't know how to do anything other than doing back flips and shake pom-poms, the punks, the goths, and more. Most of the jocks and cheerleaders get kicks from calling me Creepella, or sometimes Morticia. I can see why they call me the latter: Lots of my science experiments deal with dead things, be it plants or dead wood animals. Let's just say I didn't exactly fit in.
One time, one of the jocks called me a gothic freak. I was a freshman, this guy was a senior. Chris was standing with me and threatened a punch. I said no, let's settle this off school grounds later. He agreed and we had it out, he came in looking beat up the next day. He wasn't expecting this tiny freshman girl to be able to take him. But I did, I beat him up. I'm not sure if he was more surprised that I managed to hold my own or that my twin brother actually let me go through with it.
I will shamelessly admit to punching a lot more than a few of them when they really got on my nerves or when my temper runs short. The jocks were a bit harder than the cheerleaders; the cheer girls were more name-calling and slapping and most of them had no fighting experience, while the jocks were a more I'll-punch-you-in-the-face style and had often a little strength on their side. Of course, I usually got away with minimal injuries thanks to a black belt in karate and Tae Kwon Do, plus my knowledge of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
I was one of those mixed martial arts girls because let me say MMA is the best of the best. I think the jiu-jitsu is my personal favorite to fight with, it favors leverage over brute strength. I don't compete anymore but I do train others to fight still. My life story isn't completely written out, there is some of it that only the gods above know, or maybe they're working on writing it still. But as for my story so far... The journey involved in going from a depressed suicidal teenager into a wife, mother, and successful scientist. My name is Raven Ramirez, and this is my story.
The story starts my sophomore year of high school. I'm sixteen years old and tired of trying to live up to my parents' unreasonable expectations. I had a couple of close friends, I maintained around a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA, I had a large family, and I had my life mapped out for me through to retirement. My siblings supported me and want me to do whatever I want for a career. They didn't care what I chose as long as I was happy. Jenni said as long as I didn't talk about the dead body parts of any future career of mine at the dinner table, whatever I wanted to do was fine with her. My parents were another story.
Everybody had their place in the family. Formerly conjoined twins Julia and Jenni kept an eye on me and Chris and Rocket; offering valuable advice, supporting me with college visits (Chris wasn't interested in college and Rocket wasn't there yet), stuff like that. Sometimes it's worth it listening to your older siblings. Jenni was brutally honest while Julia was more sensitive, they balanced each other out. If I thought a dress looked not right I could count on these two for honest down-to-earth opinions. They did give me advice, but they also realized that at some point I would have to learn from mistakes for myself, I would have to take the fall and learn to get back up.
Chris, my fraternal twin, kept me grounded and also helped me work on small stuff like being able to explain things and teach others things without confusing the hell out of them. I would be talking science during experiments and he'd ask what that meant so I'd try to explain in simple terms.
Roksana kept me shaken up and busy, she would randomly ask to do a craft or bake something, so random. Roksana also liked science, so she often did science experiments with me.
My parents didn't exactly support what I wanted though. The future they had planned was a combo of my mom's and dad's individual pasts: My mother did beauty pageants as a kid, they put her through college on a full scholarship. She ended up with a degree in nursing, continuing her education to become a medical doctor, board certified in pediatrics, joining multiple other doctors in a family practice.
My dad worked as a medical supply sales representative and did a bunch of medical transcribing from home on the side. He was going to go into physical anthropology, or maybe become a physical therapist, but failed a bunch of the anatomy and physiology courses that he needed for his bachelor's degree.
My future in healthcare awaited the day I'd graduate high school with honors and a 4.0 GPA, get a full ride scholarship to the college or university of my choice, and graduate college with a medical doctorate degree. Mom wanted my specialty to be pediatrics or neurology, preferably the former so I could join the team of doctors in the family practice where she worked because they needed another pediatrician soon. Dad wanted my specialty to be in endocrinology or perhaps auditory, dealing with cochlear implants and such. Auditory would be a good field, working with cochlear implants like my own, but I didn't want that path.
I had a future ahead of me, all mapped out with leeway for kinks in the road. But this kink wasn't planned or accounted for, the fact that I might want to do something else entirely. Why didn't I take that route? Because I wanted the chance to catch killers and nail them using science. ID the victim, take inventory of the injuries and trauma, place the suspect at the scene with a cloth fiber or hair or perhaps saliva. I wanted the satisfaction of seeing a murderer sentenced to life behind bars or perhaps even death. I wanted to have the freedom of a nonrequired bedside manner. I wanted to work with corpses, finding bone anomalies, doing weird experiments, and more. Working with patients on a daily basis wouldn't make me happy. I want to be happy. I want a career of my choice and not something planned out for me that's been planned since before I was born.
I did a major career study my freshman year in high school on the work of forensic anthropologists. It was very detailed work, matching missing person profiles to sets of decomposed remains, potentially a bare mostly-scavenged skeleton. If a graveyard was flooded, perhaps ID'ing the remains of multiple souls for reburial. Giving those nameless, ageless, sexless victims of unknown race all those things they needed to find justice for themselves, or at least assist law enforcement in that adventure. Bones can help the dead tell their stories, and they can't lie.
I left the planned route in the dust, putting together my own plan. I started taking a bunch of anatomy and physiology courses, and the high school guidance counselor suggested taking some college level courses. This was really the school's way of telling me that I was way too advanced for the stuff they had, but I wasn't a likely candidate for early graduation. They only approved so many early graduates per year, and I apparently wasn't to be one of them. Year round, I aced some of the toughest college courses, making both my parents proud. They thought I was working towards the career they planned for me.
But then they found me out. They found out that I wasn't going into the career path they wanted for me. They were absolutely livid. Mom was even angrier when I said I wanted to stop doing the beauty pageants. I had done a few minor ones but never won above fifth place. My biggest talent was confusing people with science speak, to be honest. I wasn't like the others in my family.
Just because all the women in the history of my family had done beauty pageants didn't mean I was going to. Almost all the women in my family were in beauty pageants when they were younger. But clearly, I wasn't destined to go even statewide in terms of exposure, let alone nationwide. Even conjoined twins Julia and Jenni were in beauty pageants, they often placed in the top five too due to their uniqueness. They used to juggle knives and machetes back and forth, which is the reason why Julia has a small scar from a nick on her left hand and Jenni has a scar from a blade that hit her in the forearm. But most of all they were memorable. If you were judging a pageant and they were in it, you'd remember them at the end. Me, I wasn't made for beauty pageants. I could come up with the talent for them (if you can call confusing the hell out of people a talent) but not the poise, the grace, the beauty. The memorability. I was always meant to be in the background working behind the scenes.
I knew mom and dad wouldn't pay for even part of college for me if I didn't go the way they wanted. One of the park rangers in the area who was always helping me find dead animals to dissect once handed me a newspaper article about scholarships. There were a few options, including the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation scientific scholarship, which can be up to full tuition scholarship to a university with an accredited forensic anthropology program. By the end of my sophomore year, I had been named the recipient of several scholarships which would be available for use when I started college as long as I kept my grades up until then. There was a little leeway for my GPA to slip, but not much. I was always on the radar for colleges due to my grades and test scores. I kept on top of things, going so far as to do internships for extra school credit through summers and breaks.
So you can imagine how not many people knew about the fact that I was plagued by depression. I had in the past self-harmed and tried twice to take my own life. My mother believed in structure and a bunch of other random crap, not professional help. So she never sent me to a rehab center or anything. But my family knew I was depressed. When dad was home it was worse. Being the eldest female child in the house with Julia and Jenni at college, I was the one who got yelled at. Mom found food missing? She took it out on me. Chris actually 'admitted' to sneaking food more than once so she wouldn't blame me for that, but it didn't work. He confessed to a crime he didn't commit to save me from taking the blame. But I eventually told him to stop because it wasn't working anyway. I still think the missing food was dad, to be honest... Because most of it was chocolate and I didn't eat a lot of chocolate while dad was a chocoholic. He loved his chocolate, for sure.
My siblings, bless their hearts, they tried to help me. My friends, for the most part, didn't know and I intended to keep it that way. Not that I had those many friends, but you know. Julia and Jenni, formerly conjoined twins who went by Jules and Jen more often than not. Blonde, both a bit over five feet tall, and sporty. Julia was a little heavier than Jenni but not much, both of them were pretty thin, like size four tops. They were the ones who dished advice bit by bit. When I was about to do something stupid, they would stop me and help me think through my options, occasionally letting me decide for myself and make a mistake, fall on my face. They were helping me make good decisions yet letting me learn how to fall down once in awhile and keep going. For the first eighteen years, they were literally joined at the hip, the backs of their pelvises didn't separate before birth, they went into surgery the week after their eighteenth birthday and came out alive, and separated.
Roksana was a very active kid with bright red hair, freckles, and a very fun outlook on life. She goes by Rocket, and I once caught her putting M&M's in my pill organizer, one brightly colored chocolate candy next to each light grey antidepressant that never helped me anyway. She would surprise me with an activity or craft out of the blue. She's a little naive sometimes but so sweet and adorable and innocent. Rocket is totally an artist, she does graffiti as one of her arts. Julia made sure that Rocket learned the art of not getting caught well, and Rocket usually went with a friend or sometimes I went with her. Makeup and hair are another art of hers. She had no dolls though so she often used me or Jenni or Julia as her dolls to play with. Any one of us would happily take a makeover from Rocket. She keeps trying to talk Chris into letting her do makeup on him, but that hasn't worked yet.
From all my siblings I think I was closest to Chris, my fraternal twin. We've been stuck together since conception for heaven's sake! He was close to six feet tall, with a mop of black curls. Chris, he just helped by being there for me. I can't tell you how many times I would go to him with tears in my eyes just seeking the comfort of somebody understanding me. He would stay with me, let me vent to him, doing whatever he could to help until I was okay again. He would help me pull my hair back and just sit there with me until I fell asleep most times. If he knew I was having an off day he would constantly check in to make sure I was okay. He was able to pick up on subtle hints if my tone was off or I was acting differently he'd notice almost guaranteed. He kept an eye on me, his favorite way to do that was offering to help me with any number of science experiments I had going. All the better and more entertaining if it involved going into the woods finding dead animals to dissect and try to figure out how they died. He kind of liked the experiments that involved blowing stuff up, but other than that he didn't like science too much. But he always said he loved it when I was happy. And when I was messing with science, I usually had a smile on my face.
The next chapter of my life brought some changes. I had been under fire from my parents for not going the way they wanted me to, I was depressed. Constantly being yelled at and blamed for anything they could pin on me... I always played the evidence angle, the evidence every time was circumstantial at best. I was the only known person home, nobody else was in that room on that day, nobody else likes strawberry jam... it was endless, but they didn't ever have solid proof that anything I was accused of was actually me. I can't even tell you how many times I ended up going to Chris in tears, breaking down from stress. He would take me back to my room and sit with me until I either felt better or fell asleep, exhausted from crying so much. If it got to where I couldn't sleep even after all the crying he would grab my sketchpad and pencils and lead me to his room, he had a beanbag chair that I'd curl up in and draw while he messed with electronics or whatever. My brother was insane with electronics anything. When my laptop stopped working, he took the thing apart and put it back together, and it worked fine when he was done with it. How he does it I'll never know, but his new nickname is tech wizard.
With the right words, even the most unbreakable person can break like glass. This is exactly what happened to me: the right words were used against me, and I shattered like many Christmas ornaments had in the past on our floor. And that speaks volumes because we've had quite a lot of ornaments break; I figured that an average of eight a year get broken from being dropped. Even when I was already broken, the big chunks kept breaking further because my parents kept picking at me, chipping away until there was almost nothing left.
I was on the floor, sitting with my back against the edge of my bed. An open bottle of painkillers sat beside me, another on the edge of my bed just in case a full bottle didn't do the trick. I took a handful of them and swallowed easily, ready to do this for the fifth and hopefully final time. My door was locked, my family thought I was working on homework. I was okay. I was about to throw back another handful of pills when somebody knocked and tried the doorknob. I heard Chris swearing then he called out to Rocket and Mom.
Next thing I know, they're all outside my bedroom door. Rocket was probably trying to pick the lock, she has a real talent for picking locks for some reason. I just hope she doesn't do anything illegal... Chris being the techie he is, he's probably trying to hack my webcam. He sends me links to stuff he knows I'll open then when I open them random links have coding in them that allow him remote access to my webcam and stuff. I never know which links are coded like that and I can't resist opening them because they are often science things. I can hear mom on a conference call with our dad and sisters Jenni and Julia.
How they found out my plans I'll never know. But this is my third attempt and I'll be damned if I'm going to fail again. I quickly abandoned the pills and pulled a razor blade from my drawer, sinking the blade into the flesh on my wrists and thighs multiple times before moving up higher. I slashed several deep cuts on my shoulders, close to my neck. Not on my neck, exactly, but very close. Some people will say that I did this to make my family believe at least at first that they had a chance to save me. Others think it was because of my own hesitation, that I didn't really want to die, otherwise I could have just cut straight across my neck and slashed the carotid artery. The carotid would be easy enough to slash open, but I would think that slitting your own throat would hurt like hell because you'd have to cut straight through your windpipe to get to the carotid. Fuck that, I'm not speculating on reasons; it's just all a bunch of psychological bullshit.
I made sure all the gashes were deep, and most if not all of them were bleeding heavily. Within a couple hours, I'd probably be dead of exsanguination, I thought as I made several more slashes, digging deep enough to at least nick a vein. But I couldn't risk it: I did not want to fail another suicide attempt. I reached for the rope I kept in my drawer, figuring I could tie it to the bed frame and pull enough to strangle myself if I didn't bleed out first. The idea with hanging is to cut off airflow and potentially break your neck, killing you. Strangulation is just cutting off airflow. I think pills would be the least painful, but at this point, I'll try anything. I just don't want to fail again.
But before I could get to the drawer to retrieve the rope, my head started spinning, I felt dizzy and weak. I knew this was likely because of a combination of blood loss and low blood sugar; I hadn't eaten anything so yeah my blood sugar was probably very low. I ended up on my knees, crying and screaming in pain. Blood ran down my legs and arms, and my neck and shoulders. Death would steal me away quickly, I hoped. I twisted on the floor, moving onto my back, slipping just a bit. At this point, I was hoping I'd black out or something. I slowly spelled out "I'm sorry" in sign language to whoever was watching the cameras. Don't get me wrong, I knew someone was watching them.
My eyes were open, I was still able to blink, but other than that I didn't have the will to move. I saw nothing but light. A bright light, drawing me in. Had I died and gone to heaven? I wasn't quite sure, but this place looked happy. Compared to the darkness I lived in every day, this was great. I felt like I had been pulled out of my body or something. I grinned as I slid away from my hellish parents, those friends of mine who were fake friends, bitchy cheerleaders and their stubborn bull-headed jock boyfriends, bullies who had tormented me, horrible teachers, and school guidance counselors who didn't ever seem to understand my pain. I walked towards the light, to join all the tortured souls of the animals I dissected, all the people who had left me. Being one of those tortured souls sounded much better than life on earth, or should I say life in earthly hell. I sprinted towards the light, where nobody could hurt me ever again. I felt like I was flying as life slowly slipped away from my body.
I was in my room working on homework when I got stuck in science, so I went to ask Raven if she could help me seeing as she's crazy good at this stuff. But I get to the door and knock, before trying to open it... Dammit! Raven locked herself in her room again! I knew what she was up to. This was to be expected sort of, but still.
Rocket had warned me this might be coming, she and Raven were baking some cookies one day and Raven was acting really weird. Weird meaning almost anything not normal for her. Sometimes she'd be out of it for a couple minutes, sometimes it's just she doesn't want to do anything. Rocket had said that Raven seemed to space out for several minutes at a time. We told Jenni and Julia, who were living at home during college, they commute to the local university and are up there for classes at least four days a week; but they're often home in the evenings. After that, we all kept eyes on her for the next couple of weeks, thinking maybe it was just a temporary thing. But she wouldn't tell us anything, which severely lessened our ability to help. I pushed her to talk to somebody, even if it wasn't me... though we all knew in our hearts that if she wouldn't talk to me we were completely screwed. She didn't talk to anybody much other than me. I was the one she would tell everything. She was depressed, we all knew that. I saw this coming. I knew it would happen again. The doctors had warned us that those who try suicide once are much more likely to try again. I read as much material as I could on teen suicides and self-harm, trying to figure out how to help Raven.
Mom and dad were the cause of her being this way. They put too much pressure on her to be perfect. To do the beauty pageants like the other females in the family. They had tried to push me into modeling, but I was more of a sports dude and they were okay with that too. Raven's the one they always pick on. She's too skinny, she should eat more. Her hair's being unruly and is too long and in her eyes, she should really get it cut. We may say eat more Raven, but don't sneak food. Raven, oh my god you eat like a pig! Go put some foundation on, Raven, even out your skin tone. The stuff I hear them say is horrifying. She's thin because of genetics. Her hair's long because she likes it that way. Unruly curls? Genetics again. Bad skin? Not sure but probably genetics. I always tell her don't listen to them because they're just idiots who don't know the real Raven.
There were so many days when we'd come home from school and I'd go to my room to do homework, but I would have to put headphones in to block the sounds out of them yelling so I could get something done. An hour later, she'd come to me with tears spilling down her cheeks as I opened my arms to hug her. I'd take her to her room and let her vent, cry, whatever was necessary to help. I sat there with her, making sure she didn't hurt herself. I didn't leave until I was sure she was okay. Oftentimes she cried so much she was exhausted by the end and fell asleep. Even on those fairly rare days when she was okay, or so she claimed, I often went to her room and sat there, working on homework and talking with her. Or sometimes she'd come to my room, toting a sketch pad and her colored pencils. Sometimes Rocket would steal her away to be a model and I'd get to take pics of them. I made sure she knew I was there for her and I always would be even when we were adults.
Back to the current situation. "Rocket, go get mom and your lock pick set!" I hollered to our little sister Roksana, who obeyed, knowing what was happening. I sprinted to get my laptop and met mom and Rocket outside Raven's room. I sat down with my laptop to the side of the door, quickly using it to hack Raven's computer remotely. I hacked her webcam for her desktop. The webcam wasn't perfect, but it was positioned well; it only had one small blind spot which I fixed by hiding another camera in her room that wirelessly connected with the webcam.
I was the techie of the family, I had used her interests to my advantage should this happen again, sending her links to murder stories and perhaps one about a body farm. But in some of the links, there's a remote access trojan that I coded myself so I have abilities to remotely access her webcam and microphone. I made sure to hide the trojan codes in the links I knew she'd for sure open eventually. Each code is set to expire after so long, it becomes outdated and requires new code. I usually set the code to expire after about a month. So every few emails I send her, I put in the code in a link, which when she opens the code will worm its way into her computer, slightly altering it. I felt guilty about it, but I'm almost positive she knew the links had that and she still opened them. And the rats were easy to work around: copy and paste the link and all it takes is a few letters being changed to disable the code. I quickly activated the RAT and turned on the camera remotely.
"Raven baby, talk to me, please," Mom pleaded with tears in her eyes. The phone was on a conference call to our dad, and formerly conjoined twins Jenni and Julia. "We're on our way, give us like two minutes and we'll be there," Jenni exclaimed. They had been at the college. Julia was between classes so she sat in one of the study spaces to work while Jenni was in a math class. We called them both and Julia picked up on her cell. Jenni was walking out of class when Jules caught her and they both were on their way here.
Just then Raven screamed and a loud thunk came from inside the room. I felt a twinge in my back... Raven and I had the whole twin sense thing, kind of. From the pain in my lower back, I guessed she had twisted her back to avoid hurting herself too badly. I could still hear her crying softly so I knew she was alive and conscious. Another sound, it sounded like Raven must have fallen. Raven had stopped making any noise so nobody knew. I checked the computer, watching her for any sign of motion. "She's alive," I said confidently, zooming in on her right hand when I noticed it moving. She was spelling out words in sign, it turned out. "I'm sorry," I whispered, seeing what she was spelling. It was a shock, but I didn't have time to process it.
Raven was laying on her back, tears streaming from her eyes. Her normally piercing blue eyes looked... hollow, empty. Her eyes were open and she only blinked every couple of minutes... how she does that I'll never know but it is pretty normal for her. She had no makeup on and obvious dark areas under her eyes in addition to the scar near her eye: a light, thin horizontal scar underneath her eye from where mom had thrown a book at her face. Normally the scar was hidden by makeup but when it wasn't, it was pretty obvious. Her normally neatly braided jet black hair was in a disarray. The pieces that usually were swept over her eye were brushed to the side and the rest in a messy twisted knot of sorts. Her skin was almost white, totally vampire pale. The blood just added to the vampy appearance.
Her arms and legs were covered in blood and she was still bleeding. If we didn't get to her soon, she would quickly fade into unconsciousness, and then, if we still couldn't, death. I tried to focus on saving her, not letting her die. I HATED this. Raven was the type of person who could be unconscious and you wouldn't know it because she hid it well. "Rocket, how far done?" I asked, starting to freak a bit as I scanned her petite body. She had inflicted plenty of gashes on her arms and thighs, all of them from this view looked deep. But then there were several cuts on her shoulders, near to her neck. Close enough to that artery in her neck that it scared the hell out of me. She's told me what that artery is, I just can't remember what it's called. I manipulated the camera view and zoomed in to see if I could tell how deep the cuts were. No such luck, the pixels went blurry on me.
"Almost done," Rocket said, feverishly working to pick the lock. "Got it!" She cried out triumphantly, opening the door. I ran to Raven's side, checking her wrist for a pulse, then after failing to find a beat, checking the side of her neck. Mom cried out upon seeing Raven's thighs, which were mostly bare, and all slashed up from a blade. Her wrists were the same condition. She had blood dripping from the cuts running down her legs and arms and blood on her hands and her shoulders and the upper part of her chest. I choked back tears, my twin's eyes were open still but her icy blue eyes, normally so full of life, looked hollow. She wore the look of a person who continued to breathe though their soul was dead. I checked the skin right behind her ear, feeling for temperature. She was cold, and the skin was clammy. She was super close to unconsciousness, probably already there and we didn't realize it. Raven, when asked, described the state as a halfway there type of state: halfway conscious yet halfway not. "Raven, please, stay with me. Stay with me, sis, please. It's not your time to go, people still need you here. Stay with me," I pleaded, tears running down my cheeks as I prayed hard and loud.
This was so wrong. My sister, the strong mixed martial arts fighter who could beat the hell out of guys two weight classes above her. My sister, the silent shadow who nobody fucked around with because they were scared of her, and even if they hadn't enough sense to be scared of her they were terrified of me, knowing how overprotective I was. My sister, the survivor. My sister, the one who was always quick to offer to help. Quick to be there if somebody needed to talk or quick to volunteer to be the new girl's buddy for the first week or so to help them figure out the way around. This felt wrong on so many different levels. It just felt so wrong.
That's the moment Jenni and Julia decided to come running in. Julia let out a choked sob as she saw Raven on the ground, bloodied, battered, bruised, and looking defeated. That sparkle that was like always there, wasn't there. "Oh my god. Okay. Rocket, you and mom get out of here. Call an ambulance. Jules, check the room. If she has any rope, other blades, pills, anything questionable, get it out of here and put it in a bag in the kitchen. Cameras stay, Chris put them in, and Chris is taking charge of electronics. When you're done go to the kitchen with mom and Rocket. Chris, go get the bandages and first aid kit right now," Jenni directed calmly, cool-headed as always. I nodded in reply, thinking nonstop.
I made up my mind right then: I was going to try to convince mom to put her in a mental health center. I had a feeling the others would back me up but even if they didn't I would still try. I knew Jenni would back me, she and I had talked about this. This was Raven's third attempt on her own life and she had gotten it easy before. We had done this before, so it was a routine drill but that didn't make it any easier, seeing your twin sister bleeding out and near unconsciousness. I sprinted to get the medical supplies Jenni needed, running to take them back and help her get Raven patched up. Jenni cleaned the gashes, bandaging them until the medics got to her; while I took a moment and pulled Raven's long hair back into a ponytail on the side, pinning her long fringe and putting elastics down the length of her hair to hold it in place. Her shoulders were still bleeding heavily. I grabbed a bandage and put pressure on the gashes.
I carefully checked her pulse and made sure she was still breathing. Raven was growing weaker, her body was shutting down. Her hands clawed at mine half-heartedly, she didn't have much strength or control over her body. Her hands were shaking, probably a combo of low blood sugar and the loss of strength. She was dying right before my eyes. "Don't.... save me.... want to.... be... free," she murmured. I choked up at that. "She's delirious, Chris," Jen reminded me. "That doesn't make it hurt any less," I replied softly, taking Raven's hands in mine. "Keep her awake if you can," Jules added. "Stay with me, sis, please. Rayray, it's not your time. People still need you. I still need you. There's so many dreams out there waiting for you, Raven. If you die now you'll never see those dreams. Please, stay with me, I love you sister,"
The EMTs arrived and carefully lifted her onto the stretcher, hooking up equipment. An oxygen mask, IV line, and other stuff I couldn't identify. "Another attempt?" One of them asked. It was Becca, an old family friend. She had somehow landed on the crew each time Raven was concerned. "Yeah. Wrists and thighs again, the usual, plus a few gashes on her shoulders, not sure but they look deep to me," Jenni said. "Pills too, I just found an empty bottle. Recently opened, and Raven opened them," Julia said to Becca.
Jules was really good with stuff like this. It was a bit of a science, telling who had opened a seal and how long. Raven, for example, possesses long sharp fingernails, and pierces the seals of bottles with her nails. Dad on the other hand uses a table knife to pry it open, Rocket stabs at it with a knife or whatever else is handy, car keys are a favorite. Jenni opens it with her teeth. Mom just peels the seal back. This kind of evidence would never hold up in a court of law but when it came to stuff like this it came in handy. "She is going into a mental health center even if I have to put mom at gunpoint or call dad home. I'm sure Jules and Rocket will agree, and Chris and I have discussed this, so I know he'll say yes too," Jenni said.
"Anybody with in the ambulance?" "I'd like to go with her," I said quietly. "Chris, you'd be of more use here helping convince mom to put her in the mental health center," Julia noted, looking through Raven's drawers to accomplish her task of search and remove. "Right, I'll stay," I agreed. Jules was right, I was more useful here. "No, then. Which hospital?" "Saint Catherine's, closest one. Depending on circumstances, she may be airlifted to a bigger hospital that's better equipped to handle cases like her. If she goes to Saint Catherine's she'll be transferred out to Hope for Healing Hearts residential treatment facility by default unless y'all have a preference where she goes," She said in reply. "Thanks. We'll be there soon," Jenni said softly, letting a few tears slip as they carried Raven on the stretcher out of the room.
I was crying, but I'm pretty sure we all were shedding a few tears. I hugged her; despite the fact that Jenni was twenty and I was only sixteen, I was taller than her. Jenni was the smaller twin between her and Julia, but even Jules was shorter than me. Raven was small too, must be a family trait or something. All the guys end up tall, most of the girls end up shorter than five eight. Her head landed on my shoulder as she sobbed, heartbroken yet again. Julia had bagged up all the stuff and taken it to the kitchen, joining mom and Rocket.
"Jen, let me get the footage I need. We show mom the images and she might break down easier. Let Rocket and Jules know what's going on, okay?" I said. "Will do," Jenni said, walking out of the room. We were all in a bit of a hazy state. I retrieved the cameras and my laptop, hooking them up. I pulled up a frame from the video footage of her slicing into her wrists. I got multiple stills from the video footage of the most heart-wrenching parts, then walked downstairs laptop in hand. We met in the living room, discussing for a moment before heading to the kitchen, where mom was busy straightening things.
"Mom," Julia started. "Sit down," Jenni advised, gently pushing mom into a chair. "This is her third attempt. I know you don't want to admit it, but she's not okay. She needs serious help, mom," Rocket chipped in her two cents. "No, she doesn't, she needs a firm hand and strict schedule, and careful monitoring," Mom shot back.
At this, I broke. I reached out and slapped mom, right across the face before I really broke down, screaming at mom as tears ran down my cheeks.
"Mom, she's my twin! You don't know what it's like to lose a twin, dammit! This is the third time I've almost fucking lost her because she didn't get the serious help she needed before this happened again!!" I screamed at mom.
Jenni and Julia grabbed my arms to hold me back, which was effective because I didn't want to hurt either of the girls. Yelling with me was usually accompanied by things breaking or things being thrown, but I didn't yell often.
"If you won't check her into a mental health center then I will call dad and ask him to come home and get her in a rehab program, dammit! Or I could call Aunt Nikki, tell her what's going on so she can maybe knock some sense into you! Or better, she could arrest you for child abuse and neglect, Raven's still a minor!" I yelled in frustration.
Mom was white in the face, seemingly surprised at my sudden outburst. The red mark on her face from my hand scared me. I was pretty rational most of the time, never one to have a hot temper. Things didn't irk me easily. I was similar to Raven in temperament somewhat: The only difference was when she got mad versus when I got mad. When she got mad you knew she was angry. She would go ice cold, straight up freezing to the people who ticked her off. When I got mad, it wasn't so obvious to people who didn't know me well.
Jenni let me go, snatching my laptop from the counter and handing it to me to pull up images. As cruel as it sounds I picked the most brutal bloody images to put in, taking an extra two seconds to enhance them digitally. I was good at photo editing and enhancement, there was a fine line between enhancing an image and editing it so much that it looks fake. I put the chosen images into slideshow mode before passing the laptop to Rocket.
"You see that? That's your daughter, Raven. My older sister, Jenni's and Julia's younger sister, and Chris' twin. See those scars? The fresh cuts? She's sick, mom. She's not okay, she needs help." Rocket said firmly, flipping through the images. Mom was starting to break, she would listen to us. If breaking her was what it took to get Raven the help she needs, we'd do it.
Julia picked up where Rocket left it. "This is the third time she's attempted suicide. THREE TIMES, mom. Any normal teenage girl wouldn't have a single loose razor blade in their room. Even the most eccentric ones wouldn't do that unless they cut themselves. For the record, she had a small box full of blades- best guess, thirty of them. And why the hell would she have a coiled up rope in her drawer? The only reason I could think of right now is so she could make a noose, hang herself. This is her lowest point, she's hit rock bottom and needs serious help. There's no telling what could happen but it can't hurt to try something we haven't tried yet. If I were you, I'd use my best judgment and listen to the people she actually talks to. She doesn't talk to you because every time she tries you and dad yell at her. She talks to Chris, and me and Jenni and Rocket. Listen to the people she talks to. Sign the papers," "That's a warning, not a threat," Rocket reminded Julia.
"Mom, if it comes to that I will personally hold a gun at your head until you sign the damn papers. You know I'm a good shot, I don't miss. And THAT is a threat. Raven's sick, she needs help. She needs help that we as her family are clearly unable to provide ourselves. She needs professional help," Jenni contributed her part. Yeah, she had learned to shoot a gun at sixteen. Julia had too, it was part of their tricks that they did. They competed in a sharpshooting competition about a year before they were separated, they didn't win but they did pretty well. I'm pretty sure Jenni was the better shot.
"What do we have to lose, mom? You don't know, as her twin, what it's like seeing her unconscious and bleeding out with no will to live anymore! She's sick, mom, and if you really love us like you say you do you'd try everything possible to help Raven!" I screamed, tears running down my cheeks.
This was uncharacteristic for me; Raven and I were much alike in the emotions department. When she's irritated it shows. When she's really honestly white hot mad, she goes freakishly calm but the fire in her eyes burns brighter and her tone becomes very icy and cold towards people, especially the one or ones who pissed her off. I'm almost the same way, I've never had a tendency to scream at anyone when I'm mad.
Rocket slid up beside me and slipped her arms around my waist, knowing it'd help. I didn't want to hurt Rocket or any girl for that matter. So if she was on me, I forced myself to calm down so I wouldn't hurt her in a rage episode.
"You okay, Chris?" Rocket asked me, I shook my head. She hugged me tight as I swiped at my cheeks.
"Okay." Mom said softly.
"Okay?" Jenni asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"Okay, I'll sign the papers. She's going into a mental health center," mom sighs.
"About damn well time she did!" I hollered, tears still running down my cheeks.
Julia hugged me tightly, trying to help me calm down. "Chris, just breathe," she instructed; her hands put pressure on my back right between my shoulder blades. Rocket pinched me just then, right in the area where all the tension was; it hurt when she pinched me like that so I forced myself to relax so it didn't hurt as badly. "Let's get to the car, people." Jenni said. I kept a messenger bag ready all the time, containing my essentials. My tablet, a book, a couple spare sets of earbuds.
Jenni drove, Mom shotgun. The rest of us got in the back rows; I took the very back seat. Julia sat in the middle row catty-corner to me, and Rocket in front of me. I had brought my earbuds for in the car... With a bit of work, I could access her entire music library. I was no psychologist, but as her brother, I thought maybe her music could provide some insight into her life, the part of it that nobody except Raven herself knew.
Bored and with nothing better to do, I hacked into her iTunes music library from my tablet; scrolling through the songs.
"The way she feels" by Between the Trees (And a cover of the same by Hawthorne Heights). Not sure what I think of this one.
"I bleed" by Outcast Youth. That sounds extremely disturbing.
"Ride" by Lana Del Ray. Ride what?
"Therapy" by all time low. Hmm. This one could be saying something.
Hmm, another song titled "Therapy". But by Smile Empty Soul.
"The last night", and "Never Surrender" by Skillet. The last night as in the last night alive?
"Demons", Imagine Dragons. This one's pretty easy to figure out.
Demons in my head, B-Mike. This one's more rap, I've heard this one a couple times.
"Beauty from Pain", Superchick. Well, okay then.
The war against ourselves, by Joel Faviere. That one does NOT sound good.
"When she cries" by Britt Nicole. This one sounds good musically but the lyrics are so sad!
A bunch of Hollywood Undead, Chaotica, Falling in Reverse, Sky Ferreira, Linkin Park, Pierce the veil, Sleeping with sirens, Hawthorne Heights, All Time Low, My Chemical Romance, The Script, Sisters of Mercy, SayWeCanFly... And Evanescence. "Tourniquet", "Going under", and "Bring me to Life" were the top three played of that artist, in that order. Lots of music with rough lyrics, some songs mentioning suicide, death, cutting, etc.
I listened to a few of the top played: "Tourniquet" by Evanescence, the way she feels by between the trees, right here by ashes remain, the "War against ourselves" by Joel Faviere, "Therapy" by All Time Low, and "Bullet" by Hollywood Undead.
To describe the last one, it was basically the happiest suicide song you'd ever hear. And the ashes remain song had me almost in tears. The Joel Faviere song... That song had tears slipping out of my eyes. I didn't cry often, but these songs got to me. And it made everything that much more intense that they were songs my twin sister listened to. That all time low Therapy song was no better, rivers came from my eyes as I gave in and turned it off. How had I never noticed this before?!
"Jules," I said, touching her arm. I wasn't trying to be quiet, not by any stretch. "You okay, Chris?" she asked, turning slightly. She raised an eyebrow as she noticed the tear tracks on my cheeks.
"You listen to Evanescence, right?" When she nodded, I asked "The songs tourniquet, bring me to life, going under... recognize any of them?" "Yeah, I know those. They're all three really dark, tourniquet mentions suicide at least once. It mentions the phrase 'I want to die' at least once."
"What about Hollywood Undead? All time Low? Linkin Park?" I asked. "All time low's great. Hollywood Undead's just a bit rough for me, but I have heard a few of their songs. Linkin Park is the same case as Hollywood Undead. Why, Chris?"
"Looking at Raven's music. Wondering where she gets all this,"
"Hollywood Undead's rough, it's part rap and part god knows what. That's the band that always wears the masks for concerts and such. Not sure on Linkin Park and never heard of All Time Low. What else is there?" Jenni asks from the driver's seat, eyes not moving from the road.
"Of Monsters and Men, Sia, Chaotica, Superchick, Marianas Trench, Elle King, Cherri Bomb, Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, Helio, All American Rejects, B-Mike, Falling in Reverse, Bastille, Echosmith, Fun, Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, Kerrie Roberts, Lana Del Ray, We Are The Fallen, Bring Me the Horizon, Sleeping with Sirens, Pierce the Veil, Black Veil Brides, Smile Empty Soul, Tonight alive, Alesana, Mayday Parade, Starset, Fireflight, The Fray, Our Last Night, Paramore, Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, The Spill Canvas, Senses Fail, Dashboard Confessional, Death Cab for Cutie, Taking Back Sunday, Lorde, All Time Low, SayWeCanFly, Outcast Youth."
"What are some of the songs?" "Suicide Season, it was written in blood, bullet, outside, coming back down, medicine, born to die, move along, outcast, she's lost control, disorder, body electric, thanks for the memories, sacrificial lamb, too many faces, act the part, already dead, mirror mirror, some nights, nobody's home, I bleed, what if I died tomorrow, shattered, when she cries, right here, therapy, lullabies, scars, my angel, the art of anesthesia, drown, boulevard of broken dreams, bury me alive, through hell, Rockstar, sicker things, scream my name, Kocaine Karolina, Where the devil don't go, unstable, ghost, heavy metal heart, knives and pens, beautiful remains, we stitch these wounds, never give in, the mortician's daughter, fallen angels, goodbye agony, in the end, lost in the echo, what I've done, somewhere I belong, numb, to write love on her arms, hollow hearts unite, elastic heart, breathe me, with this knife, silhouettes, disease, hold on till May, King for a day, a match into water, hell above," I listed off, reading the songs straight from the playlist. They appeared to be grouped by artist, at least at first glance.
"Dark. I've heard most of those songs. Stole'em from Raven, now that I think about it. Almost all of it falls within the alternative genre. Punk rock, punk-pop, hard rock, metal. Avril Lavigne's more pop-rock. Sia's alternative, definitely. Of monsters and men is alternative rock. Outcast youth I'm not sure, but judging by the songs I have heard from them it's rap, R&B. Sleeping with Sirens, Pierce the Veil, and All Time Low are all rock I think. Black Veil Brides, combines cathartic rhythms with killer vocals, according to one of my friends who listens to that band. Alternative, I'm sure. Britt Nicole's a Christian artist, as is Skillet. Bullet is a harsh one, therapy is a bit dark... breathe me and elastic heart are hard to describe," Jules noted. "Thanks Jules," I sighed. This makes me really wonder where Raven gets her music.