“Mhm?” Jack asked, putting an arm around Laura.
“The sky looks rather pretty today, doesn’t it?” Laura smiled looking at the sun that was peeping out from between the clouds that had settled in the sky. Beams of fresh sunshine flew into the room.
“It sure does. But, you look rather pale, Lozzie. Would you like something to eat?” Jack asked, concerned.
“No, Jack, I’m full. I’ve just got a couple of hours, and then death shall take me away” Laura sighed, lying on the hospital bed, looking out of the window, trying to capture the last sky that would be seen by her.
“Don’t say that, Lozzie, the doctor are trying their best,” Jack sighed taking her girlfriend’s hand and planting a kiss on her forehead.
“They’ll find out, won’t they?” Laura asked uncertainly with just a streak of hope.
“Of course they will, babe. And if they don’t, I will. And when I do, Laura, I shall kill whoever poisoned you.”
“I’ve got a million questions, Jack, but all unanswered,” Laura whispered, her lips trembling.
She had been lying on the hospital bed for the past three hours as poison kept taking over every inch of her body. She remembered falling onto the ground right after taking a sip of orange juice that she had bought a couple of days back from a nearby grocery store.
“But who would poison me?” she muttered to herself as she felt tears spurt up into her eyes.
There was so much left to do. At only 19, she surely had more than half of her life left. Graduation, prom, walking down the aisle in a white dress to start her life with Jack, staying up all night planning with her bridesmaids, spending her first salary to replace Jack’s cheap shirt with a fancy blazer- everything that she had been visioning all this while was slowly disappearing.
“Jack, do you remember?” Laura muttered, taking heavy, quivering breaths.
“About?” Jack asked trying to force a strained smile and bending his head a little, to grab a hold of her dear Lozzie’s words.
“The first time we met, three years back. It was at the café, what was it called again?” Laura asked, her brows knitted.
“Sugar rush, wasn’t it?” Jack piped in.
“That’s right. Why, you do remember!”
“I wouldn’t forget it even if I had amnesia, Lozzie. You were in that blue, lacey dress and you had your hair in pigtails. I had lost my wallet and was not able to pay for my meal. You, a complete stranger back then, swiftly approached me and placed the amount on the cashier’s table and greeted me with a bright smile.”
“And after I walked out of the store, you ran after me and asked me for my number, quite flushed!”
“I always have been the shy type. On the other hand, you have always been the outgoing one!” Jake blushed.
“I know, I know,” Laura smiled back.
“What about our first trip? Do you remember that?” Jack asked curiously.
“To the next-door neighbor-hood where my cat had run off to? Or to Maldives?” Laura laughed joking.
“I was thinking of Maldives, but now that you say it, the next-door neighbor-hood, was actually the place we had first gone together,” Jack laughed.
“I had gone to take you out on a date, only to find you running around madly, searching for you cat,” Jack continued as Laura and she started having a hearty laugh despite death’s visit coming nearer and nearer every minute.
“Lozzie, who do you think it is? Who do you think poisoned you?” Jack asked nervously but regretted it immediately for unhappiness and grief took over Laura’s bright smile again.
“The funny thing is I have no idea, none at all. I never knew someone hated me so much, Jack, that he or she would go this far,” she sighed, trying to blink away her tears.
“How do you feel now?” Jack asked again, wiping away Laura’s tears.
“I can feel the poison spread, Jack, I can feel it taking over me. I won’t make it,” She replied looking up into Jack’s eyes.
“Laura, I promise I’m going to kill whoever poisoned you, no matter where it lands me in,” Jack said earnestly, gulping out the lump in his throat.
“Don’t be silly, Jack. You have so much time left. You don’t have to spend it behind the bars. Maybe you will even find another woman who would walk down the aisle to you!” Laura said trying her best to cheer up the gloomy atmosphere.
“Oh, do shut up, Lozzie! You really are losing it! You know very well that I will never let that happen,” Jake frowned.
“I know, I know. Now, I only have a few minutes before I depart for another long journey, let’s spend the time happily, shall we?” Laura smiled, ruffling Jack’s black, that was combed only when Laura asked him too.
“Lozzie, no, come on, just hold on for a little while longer,” Jack pleaded.
But it was too late, too late to say “I love you”, too late to enfold her Lozzie into a hug, too late to dig into those warm muffins that were sold outside the mall, that she had always craved for, that she would have bought if only they were cheaper, and not for eight dollars.
All he could do now was to recall the memories he had spent with her. All that was left was regret. All he could do now was to stare at the lifeless body of her beloved Laura that lay still on the bed.
“I love you, Lozzie,” he whispered planting another kiss on Laura’s forehead. He waited for a minute or two hoping he would receive a reply. He sat still, staring hard at Laura’s body, waiting for Laura’s familiar voice.
“I promised you I would kill whoever killed you, Laura. And I keep my promise,” he said taking out a pistol from his pocket. With quivering hands, he placed the pistol on the side of his forehead. Taking a deep breath, he pulled the trigger, producing a loud ‘bang’. And there he lay lifeless on the floor beside her beloved Laura.
- Sampurna Dasgupta
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