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Swim For Your Life (We Live Amongst The Dead)

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It’s been getting worse the longer he’s ignored it.

He briefly wonders just how he’s managed to ignore it this long.

Crowbourgh had laughed at his wide eyed shock and panic when he’d wrestled him over the letters and been gifted a bite in return.

He remembers stumbling to his room, hands clamped to his neck, desperately trying to stop the bleeding. The warm, wet liquid seeping through his fingers, dripping onto his shirt. He had honestly considered calling for a doctor, but had passed out before he had the chance.

He’d changed, after that.

He stopped feeling hungry. Every meal was spent picking at his food and wishing Carson would hurry up and let him leave. He didn’t miss the way that Anna’s concerned eyes flicked towards him, how Mrs Patmore would huff disapprovingly at the nearly full plate when she came to collect it. Water didn’t help either. Constantly thirsty, downing glass after glass of the stuff. His throat became more and more scratchy, sentences coming out hoarse and whispered. Mrs Hughes asks him if he’s coming down with a cold. He shakes his head and raises his mug of tea to his bitten lips with shaking hands.

We live amongst the dead, what a time, to be alive.

Dark circles start to form under his eyes. His face becomes paler, drained of colour, his arms almost translucent, showing his veins. Daisy dances with him, taking his hand in hers, and comments shyly how cold his skin feels, how it’s almost icy. He laughs it off and says he’s just come in from a smoke. Bloody freezing out there, he says with a grin. William looks at him, puzzled, for it’s been so hot this evening that he’s got his sleeves rolled up to his elbows and his tie loosened. Thomas doesn’t worry about that though. Thomas has never rolled his sleeves up, no matter how hot it gets. He’s got things under there he’d rather hide, thank you very much. Hopefully William will just assume he gets cold easily. There’d be no lie about it.

He was wrong.

William confronts him late one night, when his legs have barely been able to carry him up the stairs and his eyes are drooping shut. He’s exhausted to the bone and all he wants to do is go to sleep. William has other ideas. He’s confronted about his tired eyes, his irritable attitude, his bloodless face and icy skin, his severe weight loss and lack of appetite. It’s all been noticed. Thomas stares at him blankly, feeling surprise into fear into anger. He snarls at William to get out, and when he resolutely holds his ground, he bares his teeth at him. Only, he doesn’t, because after William’s stumbled out the door and fled back to the safety of his own bedroom, Thomas looks in the mirror and sees sharply pointed canines.

He laughs humourlessly and touches a finger to the tip of one. It pierces the skin and draws blood.

Bad idea.

The smell hits him and he feels like he’s going to be sick. Dizzy and nauseous, he grips onto the cabinet to steady himself. As if in a dream, he watched as his hand moves towards his face and his tongue licks the tip. He lets out a moan of pleasure before realising how thin the walls are, and how his fellow staff might interpret his noise of relief. Face flushed with embarrassment, Thomas goes about his nightly routine, trying to push the thoughts of how delicious his own blood had tasted, how the rush of euphoria had gone straight to his head and made it swim with relief. He doesn’t want to think about what it means.

Doesn’t want to think about what it makes him.

Hold the tide.
Hold the tide.
‘Cause in my head, the world is mine.