Ch42: Stolen Feb 14th part 2
By lisa h
They’re gone. I wake up to find Ian’s boat halfway back to Mainland. He’s got my baby, my only reason left for life. My body cries out with every movement. I know I’ve not got long now. There are things I can still do though. Somehow I get on my feet and go to the bathroom. I take four paracetamol and codeine tablets and sit on the side of the tub while I wait for them to take the edge off the pain.
The blood has stopped pumping quite so fast from the three stab wounds in my belly. Where he caught me on my ribs seems to have been a glancing blow but has bled the most. A pair of scissors makes short work of shredding a towel and I bind my torso. I know I’m not going to survive without proper medical care, but I can make my time longer.
The effort leaves me gasping for breath, sat on the loo seat, my head supported on the edge of the sink. Already the bandages are staining red. I’ve got to get moving. Forcing myself onto my feet sends pain shooting through me, the agony of movement almost making me black out. Somehow I limp into the bedroom and I collapse onto my knees in the corner of the room. I prise my nails under the loose floorboard and take out my diary. I’ve got one more entry to write.
The Ziploc bag I’ve sealed the notebook in slips under my fingers and it takes a couple of goes to unseal it. I leave red smears on the plastic bag. I wonder if whoever finds it will realise immediately what the stains are. My mind wanders, to a future without me. What will become of Ewan? What will Ian say about me to him? Tears threaten, and I don’t have time to get emotional. There’s darkness in the edge of my vision and it scares me. I have to keep going if I want to get everything done.
The pen is loose in my fingers, but I manage to write. Despite a general feeling of urgency that’s filling me, I take my time and make sure I chose my words carefully. Feels like I’m writing my last will and testament. These are the final words that will define me. They are as important as my last remaining breaths.
I finish up and seal the diary back in the bag and hide it under the floorboard again. I’ve left more blood where I’ve been sat and I realise it will lead Ian directly to my diary, and it seems so important that he’s not the one to find it. I take a towel from the wardrobe, kneel down and clean up the red drips and smears on the flooring until no one would know I’d been there. Happy with my cleaning job, I toss the towel in the opposite corner of the room.
For a moment I sit there not doing anything but holding my hands flat against my stomach. There’s a fire growing where Ian stabbed me, the pain comes in waves and even when it ebbs I can hardly breathe. I tighten the bandages a little, inhaling sharply as I do so.
I’ve got another task to complete and force myself back on my feet. I take the knife I gut the fish with from under my mattress and make my way outside and up the hill.
The memorial I made for Gemma and Chris is still behind the cottage and the wood is dryer than when I first worked on it. It resists the blade or maybe I’m just weak from blood loss. I sit cross legged on the damp grass in front of the old door and etch in what I need to. Humphrey finds me and fusses about. Maybe he knows how badly I’m injured. After a while he nuzzles up against me and falls asleep. I go over the new words I’ve scratched into the wood with the blade one last time. They don’t look nearly as good as the part about Chris and Gemma, but it’ll do. Humphrey senses that I’m done and wakes up. He stays close as I stagger to me feet, using the door as a support as my head swims. Once I can see straight enough I make my way back to the cottage.
I have one last thing to do. I take a length of rope from near the wood store and then go inside. Ewan’s teddy is on the bed. I grab it and make my way out of the cottage. It’s getting hard to concentrate on anything now, the world keeps going out of focus and it’s all I can do to stay standing.
The path becomes treacherous to my wobbly legs. Muscles are getting harder to control. The teddy and rope are held tight in my fists and that’s where my energy seems to run out. Mum appears beside me. There are tears on her cheeks as she reaches out and takes one of my arms. I feel someone on the other side of me, and there’s Dad. Together they support me as I stumble down the path.
The ruin nearest the little harbour is where I need to be. I’m not sure why, but it feels right. Mum and Dad help me inside and together we pick our way over the weeds growing out of the floor.
“You’re tired, time to lie down,” Dad says and props me up against the wall.
“I want to use this.” I hold out the rope.
“Why on earth would you do that?” Mum asks. She sits beside me, stoking my hair.
“Free will. My choice. My decision to end my life.” My breath rattles in my chest. “I won’t have him make the decision as to when I die. Not on top of everything else.”
I eye one of the two remaining roof beams. If I can find the energy I’ll sling the end of the rope over one of them and hang myself.
“Don’t be so stupid. It’s a mortal sin, you know,” a familiar voice speaks up, one I’ve not heard in a long time.
He’s there, standing next to Dad. He looks so good, happy and healthy. There’s a little girl standing between them and it takes me a moment to realise she’s Gemma.
“Mummy,” she says and lets go of Chris’s hand and runs to me.
“Careful with your mum,” Chris says and Gemma slows at the last moment. She climbs onto my lap and curls up, thumb in her mouth. With her free hand, she runs her fingertips through the teddy’s fur.
“I’ve missed you so much, Chris.” I gaze down at Gemma. “She’s so beautiful, I can’t believe this is our little girl.”
Dad pats Chris’s back, pushing him forward. “Go on, son. Go to her.”
I feel safe and cocooned with my mum on one side and Chris as he kneels at the other. He takes one of my hands and holds it between his. “You’re going to a good place, Emily. You’ll love it.”
“But I can’t, I can’t go. What about Ewan?”
Dad steps forward. “No point getting worked up about something you’ve no control over. Try to let go.”
The pain in my belly suddenly eases then goes completely. A floaty feeling comes over me. I glance around, at the people I love as they smile back. The sun is setting over Mainland and I watch the glow set the sky on fire.
“I’m going to miss him.”
“Of course you will,” Mum says. She puts an arm around my shoulders and rocks me gently.
“He’ll never remember me.” Tears slip down my cheeks.
“He will always remember you,” Chris says and kisses me tenderly on the cheek.
The glow of the sun increases until the light fills everything I can see.
“It’s so beautiful,” I whisper as my eyes close.