Chapter Thirty Seven
Daaem considered the knife in his hand. Did he want to die?
Yes, he decided. He did. It was time.
There was nothing left. He’d lost everything, due to his own idiocy. Due, he grinned humourlessly, to his impulsiveness. His father had been right. Every single time he’d warned Daaem, he’d been right.
Daaem tilted the knife, examining it. It was sharp, he knew it was. He’d cut himself on it before. But was it sharp enough?
He shrugged to himself. He’d find out soon enough.
He should do it in the bathroom, Daaem realized. It would be easiest to clean up that way.
But he didn’t move.
Was he actually going to kill himself? Could he even go through with it?
Daaem touched the blade to the inside of his hand, dragging it across in a straight line.
It stung. But the pain was muted, somehow. Muffled, as though he was feeling it from far away.
He was so tired. He just wanted everything to stop. And he’d messed up his life so thoroughly that there was no going back.
Daaem stood up and walked into the bathroom, settling himself comfortably on the floor.
He rolled up his sleeves and examined his forearms. Not across the wrists, he recalled. Lengthways was faster, from wrist to elbow.
He touched the blade to his arm.
The skin parted easily, bright red welling up almost immediately to obscure the line. Daaem watched it idly for a few moments, amusing himself by tensing and relaxing the arm and watching the blood flow gush then wane.
Time for the other one.
The knife flashed.
It was oddly pretty, Daaem realized, tilting his head curiously. His blood was pretty as it ran down his arms to drip on the floor.
This struck him as hilarious and he began to laugh.
Red. Red everywhere, made even more stark by the contrasting white of the walls and floor. And lying in the middle of it all, a man so pale he surely had nothing left in him to bleed.
Anna fumbled in her pocket for her phone, hurriedly dialling. Security. Security would know what to do. She stuttered incoherently at the lady who’d answered her call and was assured that help would be there soon.
“What do I do?” she asked in a quavering voice.
“Try to stem the blood flow,” she was instructed. “Is he still breathing?”
Was he? Anna couldn’t tell. “I – I think so,” she said, unwilling to consider any other option. He had to be breathing. He couldn’t have… no, he couldn’t have. She shuddered in horror. She couldn’t be standing next to her boss’s dead body.
She just couldn’t.
Eons later, help finally arrived. Anna couldn’t help the sob of relief she let out at the sight of them. “He’s – he’s in the bathroom,” she said tremulously, pointing.
One of the EMTs broke off from the rest and turned to her. “Are you alright?” he asked gently, steering her to a chair.
Anna sniffed. “Nothing happened to me. I just got here and found him like this.”
“Do you know how long it’s been?”
“N-no. I just came up to ask if he’d like some supper and-and…”
“Alright. It’s alright,” the EMT said soothingly.
“Is he going to be alright?” Anna asked worriedly.
“We’re going to do our very best to make sure he is,” the EMT smiled comfortingly. As he spoke, the rest of his crew went past, a stretcher between them.
Anna stared at it. Were they carrying a man or a corpse?
Ameer’s phone rang insistently. He glanced at it in surprise. Anna? Daaem’s housekeeper. Why would she be calling him?
Had something happened? Daaem had looked fine to his eyes but perhaps the boy had relapsed or was feeling unwell…
“Hello?” he answered urgently. “Anna, what is it?”
“Mr. Shaik, my name is James Rosen, I’m an EMT.”
“What happened?” Ameer demanded. “Is Daaem alright?”
“Mr. Shaik, I’m so sorry but your son has just been taken to the Medical Centre. I’ve been informed that you’re his emergency contact. Sir, you’ll want to get down there as soon as possible.”
Ameer already had his keys in hand. “What happened to my son?” he demanded as he walked out the door.
“I can’t give you that information over the phone, sir,” the nurse said apologetically. “Please just get to the Centre as soon as you can and they’ll be able to tell you what’s going on.”
Ameer cut the call and began to drive. What had happened to Daaem this time? He shook his head in exasperation, fighting the bizarre urge to laugh. The second he was discharged, Daaem landed up back in hospital. It was getting ridiculous!
By the time he’d gotten to the hospital, Ameer was no longer in any mood to laugh. He flagged down the nearest nurse. “My son was brought here a little while ago. Daaem Shaik. Could you find out where he is for me?”
“Who brought him in, sir?”
“I’m not sure. I received a call from an EMT informing me that Daaem was here and I needed to get here immediately. He was just discharged this morning. I assume that he had some kind of relapse again…” Ameer trailed off.
“I’ll just check for you, sir,” the nurse smiled professionally before darting off.
Ameer settled himself in one of the uncomfortable chairs that seemed to be scattered everywhere and tried to quell his impatience.
Daaem’s case was not critical, it made sense that he would have to wait a while for answers.
The same nurse came back. She looked very different now, stiff and uncomfortable.
A sense of foreboding began to fill Ameer. Just what was going on?
She directed him into a waiting room. “Sir, may I see some form of ID? I need to verify that you are, in fact, Mr. Shaik’s emergency contact.”
Ameer handed over his ID.
The nurse glanced at it and nodded, handing it back “Mr. Shaik, I’m very sorry to tell you this but emergency services responded to a call and found your son in critical condition.”
“What?!” Ameer gasped. “He was fine when I left him an hour ago! Why would you discharge him if he was in such bad condition?”
The nurse shook her head. “Sir, he didn’t come in due to complications from his earlier injuries. I’m so sorry, Mr. Shaik, your son slit his wrists.”