In 2013, I published my very first book! It was a labour of love and took me, on and off writing it, 5 years to finish and be happy with, what with doing everything else around it like acting and living! We set up the book site specifically for questions and discussion around the book very recently, so please visit!
There are lots more books and idea to appear, but I hope this preview will keep you entertained for now.
Copyright © 2013 Lexi Wolfe
All rights reserved.
This book is dedicated in its entirety to my younger sister, Frances Josephine Graham, my main inspiration, and to whom I hope I set the example she unwittingly taught me – be yourself and never give up.
New York City. Like they all say: no city like it.
NYC from the side of the road by night, looking upwards; lying on my back on the cold sidewalk with my eyes open, staring up at the skies and interruptions in it above me. I see the towering buildings of The Big Apple stretching out and onward, into the black night above and beyond, giving it that indefinable feeling of infinity. And here I am, little me, at the heart of it, in this swallowing, frightening, awe-inspiring, amazing, fearsome place. I love this city. I gasp for air one last time and let my lungs collapse within me as I breathe out again.
I know that this is my last breath. Unprepared, I still know that I am going to die now. There is thankfully less pain than I feared there would be, though it was in no way as instant as I thought it should be. At least, I think, as I shut my eyes to blink for the last time…At least God let me see the beautiful things I will miss before I go…
I never thought it would be like this. Nobody lingers on the particulars and predictions of their own death unless they have to, but this was not what I had in mind. In the few self-indulgent, snatched moments when I had allowed myself the macabre luxury of forward-thinking, I had imagined something glamorous and much later on. In a king-size bed, surrounded by a loving family in a sprawling mansion at the age of ninety-seven. Like most people would want. Complete liver failure from years of fine drinking in my eighties, maybe even a self-induced overdose in my fifties or sixties, once I’d reached the fame and fortune we all covet and I’d let the world get to me, take the rocker’s way out…
But it wasn’t supposed to be like this. Not this. Not dying at the side of the road, my head crushed between its own weight and the world rising to meet my fall, my bones and organs crushed, aged twenty-seven.
And nobody will ever think any different than that I spent the night out with some people I knew, got depressed and then flung myself from my hotel window.
Worse than that even: no one will care.
The cold night air rushes in as I take another breath, clinging on, it seems, to these last few moments. This, I am assured, this prolonging of the end, is punishment. It’s justice through karma, for not doing more with my young life than I did. Fate chose to give me just a few more breaths, a few last seconds of consciousness, so that I realized the awesome and awful power of death at the end. Realized that there was no way to undo it.
Wonderful. Just my luck.
But after I breathe out yet again, and feel my body sink into the floor, my lungs open up once more and I take another breath. And then, to my further amazement, I take another. And then, yet again. And again…
My vision is not blurring, as I was expecting it to. The sounds of the city do not fade about me. My breathing has not stopped, or even slowed. And apart from the pain I feel all up the back of my body, nothing changes. There is no long dark tunnel with a bright light at the end of it; nothing like that. Just the lights of New York City shining down from a hundred different sources all around me. The hotel window from which I threw myself moments ago is only just visible from where I lie, long white curtains trailing ethereally on the dull winds, miles above me. And as I lie here, I realize two things.
The first is that that hotel room really was a hell of a long way up and no wonder it seemed to take so long for me to fall to the ground.
The second…is that I’m not dead.
Nor am I dying, I dare to think as, tentatively, I take a larger breath and, with some difficulty, peel my head up from the floor, still looking upwards towards the skies. I think…I think I survived the fall.
But that is impossible. Impossible. The word fills my head with its meaning.
I should be dead. I must be dead. The swan-dive fall I just took would have killed anybody – absolutely anyone and everyone.
So why am I still here? Still breathing, still seeing, still able to hear? How?
I very gingerly, gradually and incredibly delicately pick myself up off the stone floor, bit by bit. Not that I am in bits, as you might expect. I am surprisingly intact; I landed on my back. My lower vertebrae and the back of my head are causing me agony right now, but no permanent damage, it appears. All seems intact. Somehow. It takes me some moments and a lot of aching to get to my feet. And as I stand up mostly straight, teetering slightly and answering my own question that indeed, no vital bones are broken, I look up again, towards my hotel window. Twenty floors. Maybe more.
Would-be passers-by stop all around me, mouths agape as they stare at me, shooting the odd glance towards my hotel-room window, drapes still visible in the slight wind above from way down here, tiny fragments of broken glass all around me.
I am still here.
And the people all about me are still staring at me. I turn around dizzily, trying to maintain my balance – my head is still a little light – looking at all these faces that want some kind of explanation for what they just saw, for they know that what they just saw was impossible. Nobody says anything. Everyone stands looking at me, aghast in silence. I’m unable to imagine what they must be thinking. There’s a trash can, or maybe it’s one of those newspaper dispenser machines – whatever it is, I grab onto it and use it to hold myself up properly. My breath is steady and slowing.
At length, a woman, ageing but not very old, takes a couple of steps towards me from the road. “Are you alright?” Her voice sounds small and distant, as if she herself can’t believe she is asking me this question.
I look over my shoulder. A small crowd of different people – curious, intrigued people, have gathered a safe distance away from the broken glass. Or me. I almost laugh. Mostly, nobody would stop in the street for a stranger they didn’t know, to either speak or help. Yet these people have stopped for me, encircling me like some kind of idol, having seen me fall. They seem to take a step towards me and I instantly feel overwhelmingly claustrophobic. I can smell these people as they come closer, like a barrage of human presence all about me, overwhelming me. One man reaches out to put his hand on my shoulder – probably to assure himself that I am real and not an illusion – and I cannot – I cannot let him touch me.
“Don’t,” I utter suddenly. My voice still works, still sounds like me, just about. “Don’t touch me.”
I dodge his arm and move straight past the small but gathering crowd of New York citizens. I can’t stick around to make apologies or explanations, a strange feeling has come over me and the confusion, the adrenalin and everything else coursing through my system presses me on, propels me past people. I stumble blindly into the street, narrowly missing getting knocked down by a yellow taxi-cab; horns blasting from every angle as I continue making my way gauchely across the road.
Then suddenly, I hear the blaring, urgent call of a car horn to my right, and a second later, feel an overwhelming weight slam into the right side of me, and an oncoming car sends me flying across the street, into the windshield of another. The glass shatters as my back smashes into it, and limply, I fall over the hood of the car and onto the road. My head cracks the fender and a dull pain pulses into being across my scalp. I hear myself instinctively moan – more at the noise than the pain, and my back is again hurting…
But here I still am. A moment later I open my eyes and can see again. Still here.
The car is a wreck, as though it had hit a tree or gone into another vehicle, its glass cracked and the bonnet and fender bent and broken. Yet Death, it seems, is not interested in me today and again, I take breaths and utter a small moan of pain, placing my hand over my chest.
My heart, I suddenly realize then. I can’t feel my heart. I go searching for it with my fingers, feeling all about my chest for it, but I look in vain. I can’t feel a thing. I place another hand over the first as if to confirm it, but even interrupting my breath to try and hear it better does nothing to change it. I can’t feel it at all.
My head feels like that of a rag doll as I sit up, trembling, my shoulders supporting my weight against the car bumper. More car horns from all around – deafening, unnecessarily loud, like they’re setting off klaxons in my ears. The bang of car doors as people start to get out to see what the hold-up is, the repeated sound rattling around my head, intensifying my headache. And suddenly, a pair of hands hoist me up to my feet.
“Jesus!” he yells at me, as if he expects me to respond to that name. “You alive?” he demands.
I push him out of my way and he hits the floor as if my hands were made of iron. People are standing in the road now, by their cars, looking at me, blank expressions on their faces. I turn on them and stagger on, finally making it to the other end of the street. I think I’m limping: my left leg is hurting more than my right, but I keep going. I’m not thinking about anything- I don’t have a direction and the only purpose I have is to put as much space between myself and this place as possible. But as I attempt to disappear as quickly as I can into the New York nightlife crowds, something comes to mind – that there’s a hospital a few blocks away. That’s my new target.
People are moving out of my way on the sidewalk as they see me. At first I think it’s because of the limp, which is slowly starting to ease, but casting a brief look down, I realize that the real cause is my t-shirt. It has blood all over it.
I turn back for a moment and look at the huge building behind me that I just took a sky-dive out of. And I look at the mess in the road right outside it. I should have been dead twice over in the past minute.
The distant sound of police sirens calls me back to reality. Don’t think. Don’t try and figure it out, I say to myself. Get to the hospital. Ask them what the hell is going on – they have to help you. That’s their job.
I’ve been half-walking, half-trotting for three solid blocks by the time I see the hospital. I break for it and more cars toot at me, another siren drawing closer, as I run inside.
‘The ER’. Well, if this isn’t an emergency, I don’t know what is.
I lunge inelegantly through the second set of automatic doors and look around inside the reception area. It looks like every other hospital I’ve ever seen, with people waiting and looking grumpy, beds and wheelchairs being pushed here and there, and a front desk straight in front of me.
The girl at the front desk is young, with blonde hair, lower than the desk itself, so she has to look up to see me when I get there. I rest my arms on the counter top and peer over.
Funnily enough, my wrists and knees aren’t hurting any more. I don’t even remember which side the car hit me on. But I am, of course, still saturated in blood and terrified out of my wits, so I can’t exactly say the phrase: “I need to talk to a Doctor,” in my normal voice.
I look back over my shoulder. Everybody in the waiting area seems to be looking at me: This girl who just walked in off the street on her own, covered in blood. My own blood. I look as if I’ve just been attacked, fallen out of a fifty-storey window and gotten run over. No shoes and what looks like nightwear. People from the nearer seats are leaning back, away from me.
The girl looks blankly at me for a moment, then stutters: “Okay.” Not worked here long. Maybe she’s out of her league already. “What happened?”
“Just – I really need to see one right now,” I say, breathing heavily.
“Well, what’s your name?” she asks. Several other people behind the front desk, who were going about their business a moment ago, are looking up and over at me with concerned, perplexed faces. It’s not like in the movies and TV shows where people come running to get you if you look like you’re in pain, or you look like I do. These are the real McCoy, waiting to learn if you have medical insurance or if you’re just wasting their time.
“It doesn’t matter what my name is, just let me see a Doctor!” I demand.
“Can I help?” says a voice.
I turn and see a doctor standing there. He looks me up and down quickly and walks towards me. He can see I’m in distress; that I’ve been through a lot. Thank God, I think to myself. He puts his arm around me to take me away and I can’t help but grab onto his hand and look at him.
“You need to tell me what’s happening to me,” I demand.
The doctor isn’t very young and isn’t very old. Forties, I guess, maybe pushing fifty. I’m not paying that much attention. He looks like every other doctor. White lab coat, scrubs under all that. He’s seated me on one of those green hospital bed things that come in clinics and is busying himself bringing things over. Stethoscope, needles, bits of cotton, solutions and stuff. He asks me to lean my head back as he checks the wound on my neck. It’s the only abrasion he can see, though his eyes keep darting down to the blood all over my t-shirt. God knows where half of it is from.
“Awful lot of blood. How’d you do it?” he asks.
“I was attacked,” I say blankly.
“Stabbed twice in the neck!” he says in surprise. “You’re lucky to still be alive.” He pulls away and stands over his trolley, looking for the right instrument.
I bring my head forward and look right at him. “I don’t think I am,” I confess.
He laughs quietly as he puts some kind of antiseptic on the lesions. “They knew where to stab you, I’ll give them that, but you are definitely lucky to be alive, given that.”
“No,” I correct him. “I mean I don’t think I’m alive anymore.”
He stops and pulls a strange face. “You’re not going to die, kid. You’ve lost a lot of blood but – ”
“You’re not listening,” I continue, in a voice that does not sound like mine at all. His eyes stare back into mine as if spellbound. “I think they killed me. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I think I know what they did…”
I break from my stare and see my hand wrapped around the doctor’s arm. It takes a moment, but he comes out of his trance-like look. He forces himself a smile. “I can assure you, you’re quite alive, er…” He searches for my name.
“Mindy,” I supply. It’s the first name that comes to mind, and will do for now.
“I think you’ve been through a traumatizing time, Mindy. Soon as you’re bandaged up, you can go. But before…erm, do you want to talk to the police about the people who attacked you?”
I shake my head before I can find my voice. “No. I didn’t see ‘em,” I lie.
“You sure about that?” His voice is kind and light, like a hand on a shoulder.
I mumble a ‘yes’. I can feel tears welling up behind my eyes. “I can’t feel my body.”
This is not technically what I mean, but it’s the only way I have of describing the fact that something, in a way I am unable to vocalize, is very wrong with my body. It doesn’t feel like it did before. Almost as if it isn’t there. I don’t feel its weight, as if my body and ‘I’ have somehow become disconnected. And cold. I feel so cold.
I shouldn’t be here, is what I’m thinking. I was attacked as I slept, and there was more of my blood lost back in that hotel room than is on my t-shirt and clothes right now. I jumped out of a twenty–storey window, then was knocked down by a car and sent flying ten feet across a busy street, into another car. I should be dead, cold and dead, not having a conversation with a doctor in a hospital, with him checking a wound on my neck.
“What do you mean you can’t feel your body?” he asks me calmly. “Where exactly can’t you feel it?”
“Anywhere,” I say. The coldness is running through me. As if all the blood within me had been replaced with rivers of thick, slow-moving ice. It doesn’t feel as if it’s moving in my veins at all anymore. And my breathing…I don’t feel any warmth or cold when I breathe in and out, as if it were just a perfunctory thing that I were doing, out of habit, not something that were necessary to keep me alive…
“Can you move your toes?” he asks, standing back to look at me better.
“Yeah,” I say, moving my foot with ease. “But I can’t feel them.”
He stands again, looking perplexed. “Where can you not feel anything?” he asks, turning to me and squeezing my shoulders. God knows why. His patience must be running thin. He’ll probably refer me to a psychotherapist once he’s done with me.
I reach out and take the stethoscope from around his neck and put the cold silver over my heart. Following my lead, he unclasps the earpieces and puts them in, holding the silver in place. He stares at the floor for several moments, listening, blinking hard. Then he stares at me. He moves my hands away from the silver piece and moves it about my chest, looking more and more puzzled. Then he goes around the back of me and tries to get my heart through my back. He takes off the stethoscope and puts two fingers over my wrist. I stay still, and so does he. But his face doesn’t change. He looks me in the eyes just as I begin to cry.
And as I do, this look of revulsion that he is desperately trying so hard to hide now takes a hold of his face and he steps back from me. The tear of fear and confusion falling down my face feels as if it is congealing against my skin. I put my finger up to stop it in its tracks, then stare at my own fingertip.
A smeared teardrop of scarlet blood.
I look back towards the Doctor, pleadingly. He’s on the other side of this little room, unable to comprehend what I am and what has happened to me. But he’s my last hope. “Please help me,” I say, my voice barely making it out through the whisper.
But how can he? I know it, and I have known it since I lay on my back, looking up at the New York skyline from the ground. Though I may still be here, I’m beyond saving. I’m already dead…
The Doctor never gets a chance to tell me what he even thinks. Her arm around him one moment and severing his skull from his spine with a click of his neck the next, Emily dispatches him and his instantly lifeless body falls to the floor with a heavy, dull thud.
“Jesus Christ!” I yell. I leap off the hospital bed and pick up whatever I can find to defend myself. It happens to be a pair of scissors. Not the scariest of instruments, but it’s better than nothing.
Emily stands her ground. Her hair hangs in flaming ringlets at either side of her face, and she is the picture of calm. “Don’t be afraid of me, Rosa,” she says. Her voice is soothing. So seductive.
“Go to hell!” I whisper, tightening my grip on the scissors in my hand, holding it close to my chest where she can see them.
“You can’t do this on your own,” she assures me. She takes a single step towards me and I instinctively find myself backing away, both of us at the same pace. “This is all new. It’s terrifying. You’re in pain and you must be confused. We’ll go back to the hotel now.” Her gloved hand, shining with velvet and silky slimness, reaches out to me.
My head slowly shakes.
Her eyes narrow as she looks at me, but her expression, that blank of supreme calm, barely changes. “You threw yourself out of a window, Rosa. Why would you do that?”
I keep the scalpel close to me, trying to detect, with whatever animal instinct I have, the first sign of weakness on Emily’s face.
“You must be confused, Rosa,” she continues, never the slightest sound of emotion or trouble in her voice. “You tried to kill yourself.”
“No,” I utter.
“Yes you did,” she says, a little firmer, moving somewhat closer. “What was so terrible that made you want to die, Rosa?”
More blood tears are falling from my face, I can feel them. “Stop it,” I beg.
“Stop what?” she asks, her teeth together. “You’d rather kill yourself than speak to me; hear what I have to say?”
“Stop it!” I cry this time.
“Be quiet! You ungrateful little whore. I came here to get you, to bring you to where you’d be safe, and you point things at me? Like I’m a dangerous animal.”
I had nothing I could say.
And then the door opens and Mother – Rosa – is standing there. She glances at the dead body in the room, then puts her hand out towards me.
“Come now,” she says quietly. “We have to leave, before he is missed.”
I cast my eyes back to the Doctor on the floor. His eyes are still open.
“But he’s dead… He came to help me…” More tears and a near inability to breathe.
Emily comes forward and touches my arm. “He would have known too much…” she informs me. “I didn’t have a choice, Rosa.”
He stares up at the ceiling, not looking at all different from the way he did a few moments ago when he offered to help me. Emily’s arm folds itself about me and leads me back towards the door where Mother Rosa waits for us. I am too busy looking at him to put up any resistance. Mother Rosa too takes hold of me and in this strange little formation, head bowed, eyes to the floor, with these women whom I barely know on either side of me, I walk between them out of the hospital and into the back of a waiting taxi cab out on the street.
How did this happen?
I can stay in Mother’s room tonight. The hotel has been informed of the massive buzzard that tried to get into my room through the window and succeeded in smashing it. They’ve never heard anything like it before. And some drunk had been reeling about on the street, getting themselves knocked down by cars all over the place, can you imagine?
“What about the Doctor?” I find myself asking. “Everyone in that waiting room saw me with him.”
“Don’t worry,” Mother says, patting my knee gently. “After your sleep in the coming day, no one will recognize you.”
What am I doing here? Why am I in this cab? I should be dead right now. Three times. But instead, the doctor who tried to help me lost his life because I reached out to him. That’s not fair…
It has started raining outside and the lights fade into blobs in the windows of the cab, a strange searing noise occurring as the cars go past, rain and floor coming apart and then rejoining one another again. We are all silent. I sit between them.
“I know what you’ve done to me,” I mutter quietly. They turn to look at me, but my eyes are fixed on the road through the windshield.
And suddenly, I become aware, as if he hadn’t been there before, of the driver of the cab. Spanish guy, or at least of close Spanish descent. Black moustache and stubble over his chin. Generous nose. A little brown hat to match his brown jacket. But even though I’m taking this in, I’m not looking at any of this.
I’m looking at his neck. That thin strip of dark olive skin between the bottom of his hairline and the collar of his jacket. Beautiful. Seductive, even. Calling to me.
“I’m hungry…” my lips betray…
Perhaps I have begun this all wrong. Let me tell you what happened today…
Rest of the book available on Amazon!