This scene will be probably the third one of Violet’s in the book. I felt like working on it today because how this death happens determines where Violet goes for pretty much the rest of the series. I was waffling on how to handle it, and wanted to get it nailed down. Let me know what you think.
It was the tapping on her window that woke her up. Violet almost screamed until she realized that it was Sam’s face looking in at her, and she scrambled out of bed and grabbed her robe, glaring at him through the window in the dark. Sam, who had apparently failed to take the temperature of the situation, was grinning at her mischievously. Violet approached the window with caution, all the while asking herself why she was suddenly so nervous. He just thinks he’s being funny.
She pushed open the window but left the screen down. “Sam, what the fuck?” She hissed. “It’s two o’clock in the morning! My father would kill you!”
Sam waved a hand, unconcerned. “Let me in, I want to talk to you.”
Violet could smell the liquor on his breath when he spoke, and stared at him in disbelief. “Um, no. I will fucking not let you into the house in the middle of the night through the window with my father sleeping in the very next room, especially not while you’re drunk. If you want to talk you can do it right here, or you can wait and see me tomorrow when you’re sober like a goddamn human being.”
“Come on, Vi,” Sam whined. “I know you’ve been avoiding me, what’s the deal? You have hardly even texted me back since Halloween. I don’t even know what I did wrong!”
Violet’s sighed, exasperated. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I haven’t felt well and I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on.”
“You felt good enough to go hang out at your mom’s all day,” Sam countered, and Violet’s eyes widened in shock and sudden fear.
“You fucking followed me?”
“Of course I followed you,” he retorted, as if she were the one being unreasonable. “You didn’t text back all morning, I came to see you and you were conveniently in the shower…I had to be sure you weren’t fucking around on me.”
Violet’s jaw tightened. “If you really thought that was what was going on, then you should have realized when I went to see my fucking mother that you were wrong, and shown up in the morning with an apology for being such a creep.” She took a deep, shaking breath. “What you should not have done is show up at my fucking house in the middle of the fucking night, fucking drunk, whining about how I won’t talk to you and acting like following me was a perfectly logical thing to do.”
“But you won’t talk to me!”
“Yeah, get used to it!” And with that, Violet slammed the window shut and pulled the curtains. She made to lay back down, but she could still see his silhouette behind the curtains, outlined by the streetlights. I can’t sleep in here after that. Feels like he’s watching me. I’m gonna have some tea and sleep on the couch. She didn’t look forward to explaining to her father why she was there when he found her in the morning.
Violet’s heart was pounding, and her irritation mounted when she felt the tears pricking her eyes. She hated the fact that he’d been able to scare her. That someone she’d believed to be a gentle, reasonable person could turn around and behave like a Grade A creep in no time flat. All it had taken was one day of avoiding him and suddenly he was going Fatal Attraction.
She filled the kettle and put it on the stove, trying to shake the unease in her gut. It had just begun to boil when there came a pounding on the door.
Benjamin started barking from her father’s bedroom where he slept. She heard Roberto father give a little cry of surprise, and a second later he was standing in his door in rumpled pajamas, bleary-eyed and confused. “What happen?” he demanded, irritated, but when he caught sight of Violet’s face and the nervous glances she was throwing towards the door, Roberto’s expression changed. Violet couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen him so angry.
Suddenly she was terrified.
“Don’t open it, Daddy,” she whispered. There was a band of iron around her heart. She gasped for breath. “Please don’t.”
“He has to learn,” Roberto said stubbornly, and Violet watched as he unlocked the door, knowing knowing knowing that something was about to go terribly wrong.
He had only just started to turn the handle when Sam slammed his entire body into the door, throwing Roberto back against the opposite wall. He seemed a little surprised to see Roberto, and stood on the threshold for a moment, swaying slightly as he peered at Violet’s father. Then he squared his shoulders and started advancing on Roberto, and Violet saw that Sam had a knife in his hand. Violet screamed and turned to grab something, anything, and snatched up the tea kettle full of boiling water. She flung it and nailed Sam square in the face with a satisfying WHAP. On impact the lid of the kettle popped off and scalding water poured down Sam’s shoulder and chest, a huge cloud of steam erupting and blinding him for a moment. Sam let out a howl of pain and fell to one knee, and as the steam cleared Violet could see an angry red stain spreading down the side of his face. Sam snorted out through his nose several times like a bull, and turned slowly toward Violet. His eyes met hers, and suddenly she saw him. Really saw him.
He was 13 years old, wearing a cheap black pinstripe suit that was much too big for him. There was a Glock jammed in one pocket, a rolled up copy of Penthouse and a candy bar in the other, and his knuckles gleamed from the band of brass that lay across them. He grinned at Violet, an ugly thing with no hint of humor in it, and there was a gleam on his teeth from where his braces were fastened. He reached into his jacket and Violet stiffened until he pulled out a comb and ran it through his hair, preening ridiculously. He spoke, and his words echoed strangely, as if he were at the end of a long hallway. “You’re lucky you caught my eye. Who knows what could have happened to you out there.”
Then the vision was gone. It had taken almost no actual time at all, despite seeming to have lasted several seconds, and once it was cleared away Violet saw that Sam was struggling to get back to his feet.
“You fucking bitch!” He took a step toward her, gripping the switchblade so hard his knuckles were white. But just as he tried to take another step, Roberto reached out and grabbed him by the ankle. The floor was slippery with water and when her father yanked back, Sam lost his footing and went down, hard. His face slammed into the floor, there was a sickening crunch, and blood blossomed out into the water already puddled there. He shoved himself up to hands and knees, but Roberto was fast, faster than Violet would have believed. He scrambled up onto Sam’s back and pinned his knife-arm to the floor with one knee, then yanked his other arm behind his back as if Sam were about to be handcuffed.
“Call the police!” Roberto shouted to Violet. She’d been rooted to the spot for an instant, but his voice spurred her into action. She pulled her phone from her pocket, her hands shaking so hard she was afraid she might drop it in the puddle of blood and water. She dialed 911 and at the same time reached down and yanked the switchblade out of Sam’s reach, putting it up on the counter.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
Violet was about to reply when the half-open front door swung wide, and all she could whisper was, “Oh my god, no.”
Justin was standing there, and he had a gun trained on Roberto’s head.
“Put down to phone, Vi,” Justin said, but his eyes never left Sam. Violet saw her father’s back stiffen when he heard the voice, and when he saw the expression on Violet’s face, he immediately put his hands up. “Vi. Phone,” Justin repeated, and Violet ended the call and put the phone down with one shaking hand, her eyes filling with tears.
“Sam, you fucking moron,” Justin muttered. “Almost ruining everything with your drunk ass.”
“Fuck you, asshole,” Sam shot back, his voice muffled as his face was still pressed to the floor.
Justin cast an apologetic look at Violet. “It wasn’t supposed to go down this way, Vi. He was supposed to wait until morning, but I should have known better once he started getting drunk. I fell asleep in the car. My fault. Should have stayed awake till we got home.”
“What are you talking about?” Violet demanded, and her voice was hardly more than a whisper. It was like a bad dream, where you’re desperately trying to scream and no sound comes out.
Justin sighed and didn’t answer her. He took a step forward and pressed the gun to the back of Roberto’s head, and Violet’s stomach twisted. She let out a strangled whimper of terror. “Let him up, man.”
Roberto’s lips were a thin line, and Violet could see that he was about ten seconds from doing something very stupid. She tried to catch his eye, to signal to him to stay calm, but he wasn’t looking at her. His eyes were far away, and her body went cold.
Justin took a step back to give Roberto room to maneuver off of Sam, and once Sam was free he scrambled unsteadily to his feet, his clothes heavy and dripping, and one whole side of his body already beginning to blister and blood pouring from his nose. He glared at Violet, and she took several hasty steps back and hit the kitchen counter.
“Vi,” Justin said, and his voice was polite and even, as if he were asking her to pass him the basket of rolls at dinner. “I want you to take two steps to your left and let Sam take that knife back off the counter. Then you’re going to let Sam escort you to the car.”
“Why? Where am I going?” Violet choked out.
Justin shook his head. “I’m not paid to ask questions, or to answer them. Just do as you’re told.”
She did. Sam stepped forward and grabbed the switchblade from the counter, then reached out to grab Violet by the arm.
His hand went right through her.
Sam’s mouth dropped open in shock and he tried again, his hand waving wildly in the space where her arm should be. Violet stared, her mind blank with shock.
Justin’s eyes were huge, and Violet heard him whisper, “Holy shit, man. You were right.”
And then, quick as a striking snake, Roberto’s elbow sunk into Justin’s stomach. He ducked his head to the side a split second too late and the gun went off with a blast like a cannon. Violet screamed as a spurt of blood blossomed from the hole where he father’s ear had been.
“Daddy!” She could barely hear herself over the ringing in her ears. She lurched forward, reaching out to help, but her hands went right through both Justin and her father.
Her father whirled around, the blood arcing out from his head to spatter the walls, and tackled Justin to the floor with a grunt. They landed hard, Justin’s head snapping back and hitting the floor with a loud CRACK. His eyes went out of focus and Roberto straddled him and punched him square in the face.
Violet felt something odd, like a rushing sensation in her midsection, and a split second later realized Sam was running through her, straight at Roberto. “Daddy!” she screamed again.
Roberto turned just in time for Sam’s knife to sink into his throat to the hilt.
Violet stepped out of herself.
This isn’t happening. This can’t be happening.
She saw everything as if from a distance. As if she were looking down a long tunnel.
Roberto’s eyes met his daughters.
Sam’s eyes were wide with shock, and he pulled the knife out. As if to undo it. As he hadn’t meant it.
A rush of blood followed the blade out, his life following the knife.
She couldn’t breathe.
Justin scrambled backward, drenched in blood. What did you do she thought she heard him scream. What did you–
her father fell back
he fell back
When Violet came back to herself, it wasn’t the same as when she had left. Something was missing from her chest. There was a sucking, vicious, wrenching hole, pulling pulling pulling. Twisting her to pieces from the inside. She fell to her knees, gasping. No breathing. No thinking.
The scream that began tearing from her throat was not human. It was a hungry, grasping howl, a tangible thing, and Violet was dimly aware of Sam and Justin clapping their hands over their ears and falling onto their sides.
It stretched on, in one unbroken, impossibly long note, and Violet’s skin began to hum.
They were trying to shimmy back towards the door, their faces twisted in pain.
Violet’s scream grew still louder.
Her flesh was vibrating now. Her entire body resonated like a plucked harp string.
Her throat was on fire.
Blood erupted from between both men’s fingers. Instead of dripping down their hands, the droplets hung in the air as if suspended, slowly spreading outward.
They could hear nothing, not even their own screams. They felt rather than heard the spear of sound piercing them. It bored between their eyes, penetrating their bodies like a drill.
The two red clouds continued to spread as Sam and Justin’s hands crumbled, gradually disappearing into a mist of particles as they simply unmade themselves.
Now their ears were missing. Now their wrists. A distant, detached part of Violet noticed as they writhed on the floor that both their legs had vanished just below the knee.
Her heart leapt with a fierce, joyless triumph and her lips peeled back from her teeth.
Mere seconds more.
Now there was only a quivering red cloud where the Sam and Justin had once been.
Violet threw everything she had left into the last moment of that scream. She leaned into the sound, raising her voice into a final, shrill note that was so high-pitched it was almost inaudible.
The red cloud burst apart and vanished.
The sound died in her throat.
It was as if Sam and Justin had never existed at all. Except for the knife sticking out of her father’s neck.
Violet crawled through the puddle,her robe growing heavy as it was soaked with blood. Roberto lay on his back, his eyes wide and staring. A sob boiled from her throat. She crumpled against him, her arms wrapping around him, rocking. He was still warm.