The feelings in her head were the first to die out, slowly sliding away like old memories. And then after a week, her legs lost its usefulness. She couldn't stand so she sat all day long on the hospital wheelchair and drank cold lemonade in the dimming darkness. But these were just temporary, the doctor had said while touching her cold limp legs. She trusted science.
The accident wasn't really intended to kill her. It had been a ruse to simply keep her busy in her own despair but Mary was far too determined and she clinged unto a solid hope that wounded him. He couldn't let her live but would die without her so he watched as each morning she wheeled herself into the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee. He knew her. He knew her little secrets and silly manners, just that it worried him to speak it openly. He didn't need to shake his head to know that she blinked her eyes fast when she was brewing tea; or that she always held the necklace on her neck, twisting it ever gently when she was upset.
He thought she was pretty and he knew it, so each day as he sat in his very same position below the garden bushes he loved her more. But she wasn't to be loved. She was to be watched and thereafter killed. He didn't want to kill her but she was too determined.
He needed to find a way to kill the person within.
One day, in his usual position, Sam looked through the window waiting for her to come into view. She didn't. He waited for hours, crouched, tired, and frustrated. In the end he stood from his position, spat out on the cold dry Earth and moved steadily into the house he'd watched over for months.
The door hadn't been closed. She never locked her door, he knew. He moved quickly, spying empty rooms, checking the kitchen until the only room he hadn't checked was the room he knew she avoided. Still, she had to be home.
He sighed deeply and pushed open the door. For a moment he was immediately blinded by a light so thick it wore on him like a dense fog. When it lifted he saw her. She was sitting on a chair, her eyes peeled on a book in front of her. He could guess the book without even looking: Sweet Taste of Reality.
"How are you doing Sam?" She asked without even turning and for a long moment he stood transfixed as though in a vision. How did she know? She continued, still with her eyes on the book and back against poor Sam. "I was waiting for you. For a moment I thought you wouldn't show up. But I'm glad you did."
He blinked for the thousandth time since he walked in but said nothing. His heart was beating against his chest and it felt so hot. He could barely breathe.
Then she turned to him and smiled. He knew what her smile meant from all his studying and he knew she knew. Her smile was another way of saying, you think I wouldn't find out? God! I beat you to your own game.
But in truth he hadn't beaten her to anything if infact she'd known all along that he'd watched her every single day for months on end. He didn't know what gave him the courage of a professional but in the midst of his shock he found his voice. "I see you have a great eyesight. I was sure I hid away from your view."
She laughed, " well I can say you failed woefully at that. My grandmother would have been able to see you with her eyes half closed...and she's almost blind."
" But how did you know who I was?"
Constance stopped writing. She sighed again and closed her eyes to the sound of the sea outside splashing at the rocks and naked pebbles. She loved the sound and had come here to begin afreash, a new life and a new hope. Before she'd come here, she'd hoped to start writing again. And her friend had said this was heaven. Even the papers she'd looked up had called it a place to find absolute inspiration. This was her fourth month and she was still stumbling on words to start with.
She wasn't called miss stupid for nothing and somehow she knew she deserved it. All her life, she'd always wanted to belong somehow. She'd started music classes because it made people popular in school. She wasn't good at it. She stopped. Next, she applied for the debate club and stood in the mirror and told herself she'd be a better version of herself. She stopped midway because barlerina classes had started and all the other girls were going. It all went down to her wanting to be loved. She just never could fit into the big picture.
Her reason to write sprung as a result of seeing someone else write. But unlike before, she was so determined it made her cry. But this was her first trial and it was getting so hard and intimidating. She'd read so many books before and it had seen effortless, the way the authors had crafted out fictional stories from their imagination, and now it felt different.
She googled so many things to help her but with each word, she became stuck. She wanted to find a way out: quit. It was so simple to do but she couldn't because this was the only thing in her entire life that actually made sense. Every decision she'd made so far had brought her here and she was grateful. It was tiring to put down words she imagined but this was her first right? She would just have to learn.
She stood up from her chair and marched to the kitchen where she let herself enjoy one moment of silence to recollect her thoughts. She drank a cup of milk and pushed a couple of dark chocolate into her mouth. She chewed on for a minute and just laughed.
I can do it! Hell, I will do it!
But she didn't go back into the room where her notebook and pen sat with a half page story perched on the front page. She didn't go back to the room where the soft sad music hit her guts. She turned on the TV and and watched a documentary on past wars until her mind turned blank and her eyes fluttered close.
She awoke hours later to catch the last rays of the sun drift across the mountains. It coated the mountains with an airy feel and she smiled at herself for imagining such things.
She made dinner. It got burnt pretty badly as if a solid reminder that she was still useless so she ate it anyway and dusted the tiny crumbs on her dress. Then with resolution she marched back into her room and sat down on the chair she'd vacated hours before. From deep within, she saw Sam's face and she started to write.
Mary smiled again. She said, "I'll tell you some other time."
"No. Who the hell are you?"
" You know me so well." And she said nothing else. He waited. Then she said, "tell me who sent you."
"I'm not going to say anything. Who the hell do you think you are?" As he said this, he withdrew a gun from behind his faded jeans and raised it in front of him. With careful precision, he aimed.
The bullet did not miss it's target. Sam regretted his actions immediately and he threw the gun away from his hands. The bullet had not missed the chest of beautiful Mary but it hadn't registered because staring at him wideyed was the lady whom he'd fallen in love with.
"I...I'm so..so..rr...but how.?"
He stood before her and stuttered but she did not smile. The joviality in her eyes were gone. He couldn't even recognize her. It was as though something had possessed her soul and was taking control of her. She blinked hard at him and he withdrew momentarily. His gun lay on the door and he ached to pick it up. He leaped away from the paralyzed woman and tried to run out. She wouldn't let him. Something stopped him, something otherworldly, that it left him in even more shock. He tried to take his gun but his hands would not get to it. His breath was ceasing and he knew, as much as everyone else in the world knows, that death was inevitable. But unlike most humans, he knew the end was near, he could almost taste it....
Constance could write no further. She reminded herself she was new here and had to learn no matter what. She tried to write but like a dying flame, her good old hands refused to master the keys to a story she needed to write. She stopped.
Tomorrow is another day, she told herself as she slipped into bed. The night was cold and not too far away in the distance, Constance could hear the dizzying ripples of the river. Tomorrow she'd write about Sam and Mary. Tomorrow she'd learn the act of creating someone too. But for today she was contented. Contented for the simple fact that she wasn't about to give up even if it felt intimidating and we'll out of her reach.
Constance closed her tired eyes and smiled because she knew the story by heart and it was her all along.