Bad Seed: Chapter One, Part 3

The acrid stench rising from the crack under the door stung her nose while Camila listened to Jonas cough. Even with the tap running, she heard his ragged wheezes.

“I got you, babe,” she called through the door.

Camila ran across the kitchen to the junk drawer beside the back door and dug for Jonas’ rescue inhaler among the myriad of screwdrivers, safety pins, and unidentified keys. She grabbed the inhaler and turned back to the bathroom, but her ankle twisted and she crashed to the floor with a hard smack as all her exposed flesh kissed the polished tile floor. She’d be covered in bruises tomorrow, but that was a battle for another day. She rolled over and kicked off her knock-off Louboutin heels. They weren’t doing her a bit of good if they weren’t pointed to the bedroom ceiling. 

She scrambled to her feet and hobbled to the bathroom door on a swelling ankle. The tap water had stopped the noise replaced by the whistle-rattle of Jonas’ breathing.

“Let me in,” she yelled and rattled the locked door handle. 

The house fell silent. No whistle. No wheeze. Only the thump of Jonas’ body hitting the floor. 

She jiggled the handle again. Nothing. She tucked her shoulder and threw herself at the door multiple times. Thought she heard cracking, but wasn’t sure if it was the door frame or the boning of the corset hitting the thin door.

“Fuck!” she screamed as pain exploded out of her shoulder and across her chest.

She stepped back one more time, measured herself, and lunged forward. She planted her foot beside the doorknob and kicked like she was at bootcamp fitness class. There was a loud crack and the door flew open. Chemical fumes billowed out of the tiny room on a cloud of steam. Her lungs filled with the noxious fumes, her mouth watered, and her nose began to gush with mucus.

Jonas lay in a heap, wedged between the toilet and wall. Blood and mucus smeared his face and glowed crimson on his crisp white shirt. Camila dropped to her knees, she couldn’t get any air that didn’t turn into razor blades in her throat and lungs. She grabbed Jonas’ ankle and gave a weak tug that only resulted in him sliding farther behind the toilet and she could no longer see his face through bleary eyes. She needed to gather her strength and catch her breath, then she’d drag him out. Camila buried her face in the small area rug to wipe off the tears and snot and let it filter the air, but as she closed her eyes she gave in to the darkness.

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