I see the night, but I’m lost outside of you

Howard has a visitor. Vince has a broken heart. Howard’s POV








Length: words

I see the night, but I’m lost outside of you by chessypeas

She hadn’t meant to do it, not really.
It had been a vague thought bubbling away in the back of her mind. But she hadn’t deliberately set out to do it. Events had just seemed to overtake her, to spiral out of control, bringing her to that moment.
She’d been out of her mind, a million different chemicals rushing through
her blood stream. She’d been careless going back to the hut in that state, but
she hadn’t been thinking, she couldn’t think, she couldn’t see. She’d woken
Howard up. And then that’s when it had happened. They’d argued, like they’d never
argued before. All he kept going on about was her medication. Had she been taking it? Why hadn’t she been taking it? Why was she drinking? She’d hated him at that moment. She’d hated him, she hated herself, she wanted to hurt him.
She’d run away. She’d run away from him out into the night, disappearing into the grounds of the Zoo. She hadn’t known what she was doing, what she was going to do. A million things ran though her head. She thought about Naboo, about going to see the tiny Shaman kiosk vendor. He’d make it better, or at least if he didn’t make it better he would have given her some more drugs.
But in the end she stopped herself from visiting Naboo, what if Howard was
there, he was bound to be looking for her. Bollo and the rest of the primates
section were out of bounds as well, that was her section if he was looking for her
and didn’t find her with Naboo she knew Howard would go there next.
She’d been trapped. She’d struggled to think, she thought about all the
places she could hide from him in the Zoo. And then she’d suddenly
remembered Mrs Gideon and all her snakes. They both hated snakes, however much Howard
tried to impress Mrs Gideon with his knowledge of the animal, the truth was
he hated them they both did.
She ran to the reptile house, for once the door was unlocked, the lock had
been broken. She hadn’t stopped to think she’d just closed the door behind
her and been swallowed up by the darkness.
She wasn’t sure how long she’d been sitting there, on the cold stark floor
of the reptile house. She wasn’t sure where the knife had come from. Had she
brought it with her? She didn’t remember having it. What was a knife doing
in a reptile house? She’d only meant to cut herself a little. But so much in
her life it had all gotten out of control. Before she’d really thought it though, she’d slit her writs.
And then she’d started to die.
It seemed to happen quickly and slowly. One moment she was sitting up, the next moment she was lying down. Watching silently as her life had flowed out of her, pooling in thick dark circles around her body.
She was sorry for what she’d done.
Sorry because she really did love Howard, she really did. She knew he’d
blame himself.When she laid there dying she’d had time on her hands to finally
think, and think clearly.
Mostly she’d been stupid. Her whole life she’d been dumb, she never used her
brain, she’d been pretty, that had been enough; she’d relied on Howard to do all the thinking for both of them. She’d never finished school, she’d been kicked out before her GCSE’s. THEY’D tried to get her into other schools. But she’d run away. She’d found Howard at the zoo and she’d begged him to let her stay, he had. She’d lied to him about THEM, she still felt a little bad about
that. It had only been a small tiny little white lie, he never had any contact
with THEM anyway he thought THEY didn’t like him. THEY didn’t. THEY hadn’t liked
either of them.
She was happy at the Zoo. She’d been better, better than she had ever been.
Howard looked after her, he made sure she ate everyday, stopped drinking and
took her pills. She made new friends, everyone seemed to like her. They
didn’t quite understand what was going on, but they all liked her. She’d especially liked Howard’s friend Vince, he was…nice. She’d never been sure if he’d remembered her, sometimes it seemed like he did, but mostly she knew he didn’t have a clue who she was. Vince was only interested in Howard, and Howard was only interested in Vince. When they were together she felt like she didn’t
exist, like she’d never existed, she’d been made up badly by someone outside of their world.
Howard talked about Vince all the time, he talked about how Vince was going to come and work at the Zoo, that like her he’d never finish school. He said it would be just the three of them, that they’d be a happy little trio. But trios weren’t happy, someone would always be left out. It would always be her.
That’s when she’d started to listen to him. His voice worked it’s way inside her broken head. Dixon Bainbridge. He’d interviewed her for the job at the Zoo, it had been impromptu, she’d still been wearing her school uniform.
That ugly school uniform, that stupid hat. What had THEY been thinking, how could THEY have even thought about sending her to a school with a hat like that. Was it any wonder she had run away, was it really?
He’d made her feel more than uncomfortable, the way he’d looked at her it
had reminded her of a starving dog eyeing up a piece of meat in a butcher’s
window. He called her a filly, Howard’s little filly. He didn’t believe her
when she’d said she was Howard’s sister, he’d snorted and said something about paedophiles. The idea that she was Howard’s underage girlfriend/wife seemed to catch on quickly. Whenever she had to use her full name, everyone seemed to snigger noone believed her. But Howard was her brother, he was! Was he?
From the moment she’d got the job at the Zoo, Bainbridge had tried to sleep with her, it was embarrassing. Then one day the trap had snapped shut behind her. Bainbridge hated Howard, he’d always been cruel to him, but in those last couple of weeks the way he’d treated him had crossed over into something darker. He really had wanted to hurt Howard. She’d had to do something, so
she’d just asked him one day if he’d leave Howard alone. She’d showed her hand and Bainbridge had seen her weakness. She did anything to stop him from hurting Howard.
The last thing she had seen before she’d lost consciousness was the worried
look on Howard’s face. She didn’t think she’d ever seen fear like that on
his face before.
She died…

At least she’d thought she’d died.
She’d woken up in the hospital Howard had been there, and THEM.
THEY hadn’t let her go back to the Zoo.
When she was better, THEY’D taken her to another hospital and then THEY’D
just left her. THEY left her there. Noone came to see her, not even Howard. The doctors at
the new hospital gave her stronger pills, in the end it didn’t matter if anyone came to see her or not, she wouldn’t have known. She didn’t know. She’d forgotten to remember.
And then one day she was outside the hospital. The doctors told her to go, they said her treatment was over.
She went back to the Zoo, but it had been closed. By accident she’d run into Mrs Gideon. She asked about Howard. The European woman had just blinked back at her, she didn’t seem to know who Howard was. So she’d asked about Vince instead. Wherever Vince was Howard was sure to be there too.
It had been raining really hard when she’d finally found Naboo’s shop. She’d just stood there watching from across the road, watching Howard as he pulled down the metal shutters. She grinned, Vince was buzzing around him, talking.
She’d thought about crossing the road and joining them, but at the very last moment she’d changed her mind; there wasn’t any room for her there. There never had been.
She left.

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