I'm standing outside Charlotte's bedroom with my sleeves rolled up.
My forearms are freezing. My hands feel damp too, almost numb, like I've had them in water.
Charlotte's bedroom door is open slightly. There's a
clustered brightness coming from the windowsill, like sunshards bouncing off crystal. I press both hands against the door and though I can't
properly feel it, it gradually eases open.
The windowsill is alight with shimmering. It's the medicine bottles, every one of them now smaller than thimbles. Most of them are evenly spaced, but some are huddled together out of sequence.
There's clothes strewn across the floor. There's a dark green school sketch book there too, some felt tip pens with missing lids, lots of coloured pencils, and a pair of earphones all tangled together. Charlotte is standing stockstill beside her wardrobe. She's wearing jeans and a dark red top. There's a streak of sunlight across her stomach. She has her arms by her sides and she's breathing quickly, her face mainly in shadow.
"Dad?" she whispers. "Dad? What's happening?"