Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Forty-Fifth Entry: Infected

May 24th

We have been hoping Sharon's going to be okay, she's been okay except for complaining about feeling a little stiff and achy, and having a bit of nausea over the last couple of days, but that could just be from the antibiotics. We thought maybe we had dodged a bullet; Sharon has been her normal self except that she keeps looking at her bandage.

I've changed her bandage a couple of times for her, washing the area with hydrogen peroxide. The two little cuts are red and puffy, but I tried to let that go, hoping it was just a normal infection. That changed tonight.

We are staying in a library. I did not see the name of the town on our way in, and to be honest, I've been kind of distracted with Sharon's health the last couple of days to pay too much attention to anything else.

We managed to destroy the three zeds we found in front of the library with no problem, but we found that we are not the first ones to hide in the library.

In the librarian's office we found some blankets and a mattress on the floor along with a stack of books, some canned food and bottled water, and a double barrel shotgun and a box of shells. Judging by the fact that the empty food cans are completely dried out, I am guessing that whoever this was has not been here too recently.

I was setting out our sleeping bags near the others in the children's room when I heard Sharon call my name. I ran towards the sound of her voice. The others stood frozen, looks of worry on their faces.

“Where are you?” I yelled, my voice sounding dull in the library's main room.

“Over here!” She called back.

I found her on her knees in front of a pile of books that she apparently pulled off the shelves as she fell.

“What happened?” I asked, “Are you okay?”

“I don't think so,” she said, and I realized that she was crying, “I got dizzy, and I couldn't stand up anymore. “

I knelt down next to her, and put my hand on her shoulder; she was shaking violently, “Is it...?” I couldn't finish the question.

She looked at me, tears streaming down her face, “I think it is,” her voice quavered as she spoke.

“But the antibiotics!”

“Didn't work.”

“This could be side effects then!”

“Oh God, I'm dying!”

“No you can't be; it's the flu or something, or stress. You've been stressed the last couple of days,” I blurted out, as if saying it would make it true. I couldn't accept it. This can't be happening.

“ I don't want to die,” she said.

“Are you okay?” a voice said from behind me. It was Pippa, she had apparently broken the paralysis that had overcome all of our friends and followed me.

Sharon just looked at her, and started sobbing.

Pippa looked at Sharon, and at me. I felt like my head was going to explode with fear, and pain, and I wanted to join Sharon in crying; I could feel the tears behind my eyes, but none came.

“She's going to be okay, right?” Pippa asked me.

I just looked at her in reply, and I guess that told Pippa everything she needed to know. Pippa dropped, joining the two of on the floor on her knees, “You can't die! I don't want you to die!” she said, and she started crying too.

Sharon crawled past me, and put her arms around Pippa, hugging her tightly. I put my arms around both of them. We were a family, and one of us had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I held the two sobbing women in my arms, conscious now that every second we sat there brought my wife one moment closer to death. I know that every second before then did the same thing too, but now I was conscious that her death was close; the clearing at the end of her path is almost in sight now.

I don't know how long we sat there. The women crying, me holding them, not wanting to ever let either of them go. Not wanting to let Sharon go, as if somehow holding her would keep her safe; keep her alive. My chance to keep her safe had already passed though.

I felt a hand on my shoulder, and turned to see Beth standing there. Her eyes were red, and her cheeks were wet, she mouthed words to me, “Is it?”

I looked at her, and realized now that I was shaking too. I couldn't speak. I couldn't say it. My vision blurred as my eyes watered, but still no tears. My chest felt ready to burst, but I couldn't cry.

I blinked to clear my eyes s that I could see Beth again, “I'm sorry,” she mouthed a tear slipping from her right eye. She spoke aloud then, but quietly, “Come on. Let get her to lie down.”

I felt like I couldn't stand myself, let alone help Sharon. I managed to get to my feet though, and while Beth helped Pippa to stand, I helped Sharon to her feet. She made it a couple of steps, and then almost pulled me down to the floor as he legs gave out.

Despite feeling so weak, I was able to lift Sharon back up from the floor, and carry her to our sleeping bag. She shook and cried in my arms during the short walk, and there was nothing I could do for it. There's nothing I can do to save her this time.

I thought she would need something to help her sleep, but she dozed off, or passed out, almost as soon as she was inside the bag.

Gerry was sitting on the edge of one of the small tables that used to accommodate children, and wouldn't even look at me. I could tell he was upset though, he kept wiping at his eyes. As for Maria, she was gone and so was her sleeping bag. I think she's in the librarian's office. I don't really want to even see her right now.

Beth sat with Pippa for awhile, while I sat on the sleeping bag next to my Sharon, and did nothing. I wasn't zoned out or anything, I think I was just in shock. I could hear Beth talking to Pippa, and I think ultimately Beth may be the strongest and least screwed up of all of us, are at least she is to me what Gerry is to Maria.

After a time, Beth left Pippa, who had also fallen asleep, and came over to me, “Do you want to talk?”

“No.”

She ignored my answer, “Are you okay?”

I looked at her like she was an idiot, “No, I'm not okay!” I said too loudly, but didn't wake either Pippa or Sharon. Then, more quietly, “Sharon's dying and it's my fault.”

“How is it your fault?”

“I should have protected her! I should have told her how I felt years ago, and then we wouldn't have been there. I should have made her stay at the church.”

“I've heard this before,” Beth said.

“I'm sorry my pain inconveniences you! Feel free to piss off like Gerry did.”

“Gerry's upset, and he doesn't know how to handle it. He feels responsible for asking us all to come with Maria. We're all responsible one way or another for this, including Sharon herself.”

I realized something, “Oh my God! You're my Gerry, aren't you?”

“Huh?”

“Gerry is the only one who will really tolerate Maria, is that what you are to me?”

“Are you drunk?” she asked me, “Everybody likes you. Pippa views the two of you as the family she never really had. Sharon loves you. Gerry likes you, hell I think Maria likes you down beneath her issues.”

“Then why are you always the one having these conversations with me?”

“I worry about you. You never seem to talk about what you are feeling. Pippa told me about your diary, but I think you should get it out in the open.”

“So she has been reading it.”

“When we were at the lake, yes. Don't worry, she hasn't told me what you write, just that you're really brave. She's right about that, you know?”

“I'm not brave. “

Beth shrugged, “Have it your way.”

“What am I going to do?”

“The same thing we are all going to do. You're going to love her, and stay with her until the end, and then....” Beth trailed off and just looked at me for a minute, when she spoke again, her voice was choked, “and then we'll still be here for you, and you'll still be here for us, and we'll figure out how to go on.”

I nodded. I didn't want to talk anymore, so I just said, “Thanks for being a friend, Beth.”

“You would do the same thing, whether you believe it or not.”

I think Beth is asleep now. I don't know what happened to Maria and Gerry, but I'm sure they're off somewhere.

Part of me is still holding out hope that Sharon's just got the flu or something. The rest of me just keeps praying.



May 26th

When Sharon woke up yesterday, she was doing better; still achy and stiff, but better. She felt a little warm, but said she was feeling okay. She took her antibiotics, and had breakfast with us; us being everyone except Gerry and Maria.

Gerry made breakfast, like he does most days, but he didn't stay with us. He took his can of Beefaroni along with one for Maria and went to the librarian's office where Maria had slept.

While we were packing up to hit the road, Sharon hit the books again. She filled up one of the “I Support My Local Library” tote bags that they apparently sold with books to read. I wish I could believe she was going to live long enough to read them all.

It was another day of slow travel, we went through a pretty built up area, and had to deal with a number of abandoned cars, and a telephone pole blocking the road that caused us to have to make a detour and add something like two extra miles to the drive.

We tried to stay in the cars as much as possible in the built up areas, as there were a lot of zeds out there, and I think we're all a bit scared of facing off against them now. I know I feel a lot like I did when I first went face to face with one of those monsters.

It wasn't so bad once we were back into the more heavily wooded areas. They are strangely less creepy than the abandoned towns are, maybe because out here it is easier to believe that things are closer to normal.

I haven't checked the map, but I don't think we're more than another couple of days away from Lovelock, providing we don't come across something completely impassable.

We had just decided to start looking for somewhere to spend the night when Sharon complained of not feeling well. She looked even more pale than normal, and when I put my hand to her forehead it felt really warm.

“When did this start?” I asked her.

“A little while ago. I just need to lie down for awhile, and I'll be okay.”

I wish that were true.

Beth got Gerry's attention in the brown Excursion by honking the horn. He stopped, and got out of the car, sword in hand. Beth met him out between the two cars, and they talked for a minute. I don't know what they said, but Gerry looked over at us in the middle of the conversation, and then lowered he head and shook it slowly.

When Beth climbed back up into the car she said, “We're going to find a place. He saw a sign for a bed and breakfast a while back. We're going to see what that place looks like. Can you hold on for a little while longer?”

“Yeah, I just...” Sharon trailed off, “I'm sorry, you guys.”

“There's nothing to be sorry about, “ Beth said evenly.

I put my arm around Sharon, and held her close to me. I keep reminding myself of What Beth said to me; I have to stay with her until the end. I may have failed in keeping her safe, but I can't fail her now. I want to make sure she feels loved up until the end.

I keep telling myself that she is going to die, but I cannot fathom it. I cannot accept that she won't be in my life anymore. I can't understand why God would take her from me, from us.

Pippa looked back at us from the passenger seat, and I could see that her eyes were red again; she was trying not to cry, “I bet this place will be really nice!” she said, trying to sound hopeful.

Pippa was right, it is really nice, if a bit creepy looking; Norman Bates' mom would feel right at home here. It's a Victorian house' three stories tall with a wraparound porch. The outer walls are a kind of purplish blue, and the shingles look almost a dark purple. I suppose in a different situation it would look romantic.

The house is surrounded by trees, and I'm sure it's full of paths leading off to secluded little picnic spots. Part of me wishes I could have brought Sharon to a place like this even though it's totally not either of our type of scene. Maybe if I had spoken up.

There are also some zeds in the woods it seems, judging by the old man we saw shambling in front of the house. Maria was leaping out of the passenger side of the brown Excursion before Gerry had even come to a full stop, machete in hand. She charged the old zed, and swung the machete at him hard.

The blade looked like it hit the zombie in the side of the head, which snapped hard to the right. He fell to the gravel of the driveway, and Maria started hacking at him with her machete, raising it and bringing it down on her prey until she was satisfied it was dead again. Apparently the requirement for satisfaction was beheading, because I saw he kick her right foot hard, and the monster's severed head go flying off like a soccer ball.

Satisfied, Maria tossed the machete onto the ground, grabbed the old man's feet, and dragged him over to the edge of the parking lot. She stooped to pick up the blade again on her way back to the car. Gerry met her a few feet from the Excursion, having gotten out of the vehicle while she was dispatching the zed.

“You guys stay here, “said Beth, “We're going to check the house first. Pippa, if you see anymore zeds, just honk, and we'll come out. “

I could hear a snatch of Gerry and Maria talking while Beth got out of the car.

“-if there had been more of them? You need to be careful!” Gerry said sharply.

“Like anyone even cares if anything hap-” Beth closed the door, cutting Maria off in mid sentence.

“Everybody's upset because of me.” Sharon said weakly.

“No one's upset because of you,” I said.

“We're just upset,” Pippa said, “We all want you to be okay.”

“I'm sorry,” Sharon said softly.

“Don't be sorry, you're going to beat this, “Pippa smiled. I don't know if she really believes that or not. I wish that I could.

“I'll try,” Sharon said.

We sat there in silence, Sharon breathing shallowly against me, as the other three disappeared into what the sign over the porch declared was the “Lil Hidden Bed and Breakfast”. They were in there for what seemed like an hour, but it was probably only about ten minutes.

When they came out, Maria was carrying the legs of another body, while Gerry had it by the arms. This one looked to be an old woman; the man's wife maybe? She had a long dress on, and Maria kept catching it under her feet as they walked, and almost fell down the steps leading from the porch.

Beth kept looking from side to side, I assume for other zombies, as the other two carried the body over to the same spot at the side of the parking lot that Maria had dragged her first kill. I wonder if we will add to that pile.

The inside of the house is really nicely decorated; the wallpaper if a sort of country flowery thing, and all of the furniture is antique, and probably quite shiny under the layer of dust on everything. It's exactly the sort of place I would normally be afraid to touch anything in for fear of breaking stuff.

Amongst the ceramic figurines, vases, and knick knacks adorning most of the surfaces in the place there are a large number of oil lamps. Judging by the fact that they all have oil in the, and the wicks are all blackened. I am guessing they actually got used. Maybe, as secluded as this place really is, it suffered from power outages a lot.

I helped Sharon up to a room on the third floor. It has a big soft bed with a frilly flowery bedspread. The room is rounded for the most part, looking a bit like a castle tower from the outside. The fading light from outside was enough to see through the three windows once I pulled the curtains aside.

“This is so quaint,” Sharon said happily, but she still sounded exhausted. She was leaning against the door frame while I pulled the curtains.

“I don't think they had free WiFi though.”

“It's still cute.”

I pulled the bedspread off, a small cloud of dust came with it, and sat Sharon down. I removed her shoes, and had her lie down. I almost forgot to remove the pillow sham, which was also dusty.

“You stay put, I'm going to help the others unpack,” I said as I inspected the oil lamp on the fancy old dresser next to the door. It was about half full, so I lit it with matches from my satchel.

“You'll be back though, right?” she said in tired voice.

I looked at her, the flickering lantern light playing off of the lenses of her glasses, but adding some color back to her cheeks, “Yeah, of course, why?”

Sharon struggled to sit up, “What if they want to leave me here? I don't want to be alone,” she was starting to cry again.

“They wouldn't do that.”

“Maria might, she hates me.”

I thought on that for a second, “Fuck Maria,” I said, “The others would never let her do that. We're in this because of her.”

Sharon wiped a tear from her cheek, “Okay, just hurry back, please. I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said, and then to prove that I would be back I took off my satchel and placed it in the claw-footed chair with the embroidered seat next to he dresser. Sharon smiled at that, knowing I would not leave my bag behind intentionally.

Gerry caught me coming down the stairs to the bottom floor again, “You should check out this kitchen, “ he sounded more like the Gerry I've known for the last year, not the miserable person who has been avoiding me for the last few days.

He led me in, and it was really quite nice. The whole room looked totally out of place compared to the rest of the house. It was a fairly modern kitchen with a big stove, a grill, a huge stainless steel refrigerator, and a big double oven. The only things in the room that fit with the look of the rest of the house was the rack of cast iron and copper pots and pans hanging from a rack over the island at the center of the kitchen. And the large white sink under the frilly curtained window.

“Wow,” I said, “It is really nice. I bet some great meals were made in here.”

“Yeah, it's too bad nothing works anymore. Still the pantry has a lot of stuff in it that we can use, and there's a water pump out there than works, “Gerry pointed to the black metal hand pump on what looks like a wooden pallet at the edge of the overgrown prairie of a backyard. I could see some tables and chairs sticking up out of the tall grass.

“Water is a good thing to have,” I said, unsure what else to say.

“I'm sorry, man, “ Gerry said after a few moments of awkward silence.

“Pardon?” I said.

“I'm sorry about Sharon, and I'm sorry I've been avoiding you for the last couple of days. “

“It's okay,” I lied.

“Maria's sorry too,” he said cautiously.

I tensed, “Yeah, well so am I. That doesn't fix anything.”

“She didn't want this to happen, you know?”

“Then she should have put some effort in with Alisdair. Then we could have stayed there.” I almost threw his words about anything happening being her fault back at him, but I held my tongue.

“I know, and I think she finally knows now too,” Gerry said sadly, “Just try to find it in your heart to forgive her, it really isn't all her fault.”

I know it's not all her fault, and I'll forgive her for her part in this right after I forgive myself, and that's not really likely to happen anytime soon.

Gerry told me he was going to get a fire going in the parlor fireplace, and try to heat up some water from the well for washing with., so I left him to it, and went out to the cars to get some of our stuff.

I heard before I saw Beth dragging another headless corpse scross the gravel parking lot. This one looked to me a male in t-shirt and jeans. Almost a headless version of me actually. I wonder if zeds are going to be a big problem with this house.

“I got another one!” Beth panted, as she neared the growing pile of the dead.

“Are we going to be okay here?” I asked.

Beth dropped the body next to the others and dusted off her hands on her pants legs, “As long as we pay attention and don't get swarmed, or cemetaried if you prefer, we should be okay.”

“Do you need any help?” I asked.

“No,” she replied, walking over to the back of the black Excursion, “How's our girl?”

“She's not feeling well.”

“If you don't mind, I'll stop by later, maybe give you a break, okay?”

“I don't need a break from her.”

“I know, but you can't keep her all to yourself. I think we're going to be staying here for a few days, and the rest of us want to see her too, you know?”

“A few days?”

“Well, we discussed it, and-”

“Who is we?”

“Me, Pippa, and Gerry; and we decided that we are going to stay here while Sharon's sick.”

“But maybe she's not....”

“Maybe she's not, but she's still sick, and she needs to rest. And if she is, we should make her as comfortable as we can. This place has fresh water, and there are still some supplies that we can use in the pantry. I don't think we're going to find a better place, do you?”

I had to admit that I did not. I took a bag of clothes and the bag of books from the library out of the back of the Excursion and headed back upstairs. Going back into what may be our room for the rest of Sharon's life I found Pippa sitting next to her on the bed; they were hugging again.

“Oooh, hot! Can I join in?” I asked, placing the bags on the floor in front of the chair where my satchel still sat.

The girls pulled away from each other, “Disgusting pervert!” Pippa called, and laughed. Both of their faces were wet from tears; they had been crying again.

“Are those my books?” Sharon pointed to the “I Support My Local Library” bag, smiling, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” her smile was beautiful.

I gave her the rather weighty bag of books, and she started taking them out and setting them around her on the bed, “Can you bring the light over here?” she asked me.

I took the lamp from the dresser, and brought it over to the nightstand next to Sharon. I put the electric lamp with its delicate glass shade from the table, and place it on the floor to make room for the oil lamp.

Pippa asked if she could take a book to read, and of course Sharon said yet. Pippa took a copy of “Personal Effects: Dark Art”, from which the library had either removed or lost all of the little things that came with it, and went back downstairs.

I lay next to Sharon on the bed for awhile as she read from “Nina Kimberly the Merciless”. She looked happy there in the lamplight, reading her book.

I think I dozed off for awhile, because the next thing I knew, Pippa was telling me that dinner was ready.

I went down to get something for Sharon, who agreed to stay in bed despite the saying that she was feeling a bit better. Dinner was chunky soup with rice that Gerry had found in the pantry. It took me two trips to bring up the food and glasses of room temperature tea that Gerry had made (more stuff from the pantry, I need to check out this pantry).

Sharon told me that I should eat downstairs with the others, but I wasn't going to leave her alone.

After we finished eating Beth came up and said that I should go downstairs for awhile and socialize. I grabbed my satchel and the dirty dishes and left. I only went because I knew she wanted to have some time with Sharon, and she was right, I cannot keep her all to myself; as important as she is to me, I know the others love her too.

I'm not sure who I was meant to socialize with, Gerry and Maria were out back doing dishes under the water pump and splashing each other with water.. This left only Pippa for me to socialize with, and she's laying on the couch reading. She did offer to let me sit on the couch by her feet, but I declined. Instead I found a nice old rolltop desk to write at.

While I've been writing, Maria did come into the room once. I pretended not to see her while she filled a bowl with some of the water from the two metal buckets Gerry placed in front of the fireplace to warm up. She left without saying anything to me.

Beth just came down and said that she and Sharon are done talking, and that I could go back up, so I guess I'll stop writing for tonight. I hope Sharon continues getting better; maybe this really is nothing more than the flu or something.



May 30th

Sharon is bad today. She's been getting worse quickly over the last couple of days. I haven't written because I don't want to lose anymore time with her than I have to. We cannot even pretend that we think this might be the flu anymore. Sharon has the zed virus.

I don't know if we should even still be having her take the cefuroxime, but what if it is keeping her healthier longer? What if stopping it makes the virus or bacteria, or whatever the fuck it is move quicker?

Oh God, why are you doing this to us?

I haven't seen Maria at all for the last couple of days; Beth and Pippa have both told me she's off in the little detached garage doing something. She has locked herself inside and won't let anyone in. Good, fuck her!

The zeds continue to trickle in, and Beth, Gerry, and Pippa continue to destroy them, I can see them down in the parking lot through one of this room's windows. I don't know what sort of watch schedule they have worked out with only three of them, since Maria is doing her own thing, and I am tending to Sharon.

I was awakened this morning by Sharon calling my name, and hitting me frantically with her hands. I shot up in bed next to her, grabbed her hands to both let her know that I was there and to make her stop hitting me, and asked her what was wrong.

“I can't see very well,” she said, weak but panicked.

“Put your glasses on.”

“They don't help,” she looked at me, “Is there something in my eyes? Can you see?”

Sharon's beautiful eyes were cloudy now. It was as if cataracts had formed overnight. “Yeah... I can see something,” I said after a pause.

Sharon dropped back down onto the bed and began sobbing. The one hint of normalcy she had left was being able to read. She spends most of the time sleeping now, but when she's awake she reads. She's too weak to do much of anything else.

I put my arms around her, and hugged her to me. She tried to hug me back, but could do little more than just lay her arms around me. Her fever is gone, but that is somehow worse, because her body temperature seems to be dropping. I hardly felt any warmth coming from her at all through the nightgown we found for her.

Sharon asked me to read to her, so that's how I spent today. Either watching her sleep, or reading to her. She had finished “Nina Kimberly”, and had started reading “Playing for Keeps”, a book I know she has read before because she borrowed my copy.

I read to her the adventures of Keepsie and her friends as Keepsie fights to keep her bar. The last chapter I read was getting close to the climax; Keepsie learned about the origins of Light of Mornings. I enjoyed reading this the first time back when it came out, but not so much this time. It's not the story's fault though.

I watch Sharon breath while she sleeps, waiting for her chest to stop rising and falling. It hasn't happened yet, and for that I am thankful. I realize that I am putting myself at a lot of risk by still sharing a bed with her, but I guess no one else has realized what might happen if she passes in her sleep.

I know I should get someone to watch while I sleep, or I should at least sleep in another room, but I don't want to leave her. I've hardly left this room at all in the last couple of days.

One mercy of this whole thing, at least so far, is that she has not complained of any pain. I don't know what I would do if she was in pain. I don't know if I

Maria just left. Not only did she have the nerve to show her face in here, but she came to tell me to kill Sharon. I want to hit something. I want to cry. I know what she said was reasonable, but I can't!

Maria knocked on the door, and I put down my pen to get up and answer it. I was not happy to see her, and what she had to say did not improve matters. She looked pale and tired, I don't think she's sleeping out there, or not sleeping well at any rate. No one is forcing her to stay in the garage though.

“Hey,” she said, looking doubtful.

“What do you want?”

“I want to talk to you about something no one else has the guts to,” she seemed to find her resolve, her face still looked pale and tired, but now she looked determined.

“And what's that.”

“What are you going to do when she changes? She's going to become one of them.”

“Fuck you!” I said quietly so as not to wake Sharon, “Get the fuck out of here.”

“I'm serious. I don't want to see her like that, and I know you don't either. We can't leave her like that. If you want, I can put her down,” she said sincerely.

“You're not going to touch her!”

“So you're going to do it?” she asked. From the back waistband of her jeans, she pulled a Glock, and held it out to me.

“I'm going to take care of my wife.”

“Then take this. You'll want to make it quick. Trust me, it will be easier if you make it quick.”

I snatched the gun from her, “You get the fuck out of here before I use it on you. How dare you tell me to shoot her.”

Maria shrugged, her resolve fading, “I'd probably deserve it. I'm not telling you to shoot her now; you'll know when the right time is, but if you wait until she rises it will be something that will never leave you; seeing her like that will stay with you forever.”

I couldn't restrain myself anymore. I shoved her back away from the door, “Fuck you, you fucking murderer!” I slammed the door in her face. I was breathing hard, and gripping the gun in my right hand.

“What's going on, are you okay?” Sharon asked from behind me, her voice weak and sleepy.

“Everything's fine, honey, just go back to sleep.” I said through clenched teeth, trying to make my voice sound calm. I didn't bother hiding the gun behind my back, I doubt she can even see clearly enough to tell that I'm holding anything let alone what it is.

“Was that Maria?”

“Yes.”

“She's right.”

“You were awake?”

“Yes,” Sharon answered, “and she's right. I don't want to be one of those. I would come after you, or Pippa, or one of the others. I don't want to do that, and I don't want any of you to see me like that.”

“I can't shoot you.”

“You can, “she said, “and you will. If you love me as much as I love you, you will. I would do it for you.”

“Do we have to talk about this?” I asked.

“Yes, I don't know how much longer I have. I don't want to leave you, any of you, but there's nothing I can do about it. I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about it, so please just promise me that you won't let me be one of those things.”

“Sharon...”

“Promise me,” she said in as strong a voice as she could manage.”

“I promise....”

“Thank you, “ her voice sounded weaker than ever, as if yelling at me took a lot of her remaining energy, “Finish your writing, and come to bed, okay? Don't stay up all night, I think I'll be okay until tomorrow.”

“Okay. You get your rest honey.”

“I don't want to spend the rest of my life sleeping,” she said, her voice fading, “I'll be mellow when I'm....”

I rushed across the room to her when she stopped talking, but she had just fallen back to sleep, her chest was still rising and falling slowly. A smile had formed on her lips from her little unfinished joke. I leaned over and kissed those cool lips, and thought about all the mistakes I have made that wasted all the time we had together.

My chest feels like it's ready to implode. I wish there were some way I could trade my life for her. I wish I knew why God is punishing us. I wish there was some miracle cure we could find. I wish I could go back and do it all differently. I wish... I wish... I wish...

Oh God, why?

2 comments:

VoltRabbit said...

A wrenching chapter, Sharon I dare say is my favorite character... next to the loner guy back near Mallville.
I think we got to see a hint at why Maria has been such a hard nosed bitch... It looks to me like she has been there.
Don't think I didn't notice the little nod to Stephen King.
I say Thankya Sai.

Void Munashii said...

This sequence was a really hard one for me to write; I don't think i realized how connected to her character in particular I was, even though the story almost revolves around her up to this point.

I think The Dark Tower will go down in literary history right alongside epics like The Lord of the Rings.