By Jan Verhoeff
Kassidy Thomas might have been a willing participant in the untimely demise of her partner, but she wasn’t willing to go down with the ship he captained. Determination was her middle name and she was out to prove herself, no matter what she had to do to accomplish the task.
“Kass, I’m just not feeling a party,” his words would reverberate in her memory for as long as she lived. But she knew this moment had to end at some point. He’d chosen his demise and she couldn’t allow it to steal her away as well.
She held onto the pragmatic cause of his death, a gunshot to the temple, and closed her eyes, determined not to relive the recoil indefinitely.
“He felt no pain.” The coroner had said, over and over again. As if that somehow made her feel better. She gasped, realizing that pain might have been her wish for him momentarily. Long enough to regret? Just that moment… Long enough to regret his actions?
She stopped the thought. No. She hadn’t wanted him to feel pain. Perhaps agonizing regret, but not pain. She wiped tears from her swollen eyes again and wished him back.
She cried, hard, loud, lingering, room shaking sobs. She needed to know that he at the very least wished he hadn’t made that choice. At the very least…
She struggled to hold onto her own sanity in these crazy hours, but it wasn’t forthcoming… Sanity. It was dissipating as fast as she called it up. Tears formed. Brimmed. Fell. Unfettered down her cheeks, washing, and burning, peeling skin as they rolled to the next wave of nausea that threatened to overtake her.
She pushed forward, leaning head down on her desk, attempting to break consciousness for a moment, relieve the pain she felt. Determined to regain her composure, she pushed hard against the back of the chair and forced herself to stand.
Dizzying waves of nausea.
Inescapable waves washed over her, flooding her, tormenting her, throwing her down into the chair again, captive to the pain she desperately fought to avoid.
In one last formidable attempt, she stepped away from the desk and walked into the kitchen for another cup of power. She needed the power that came in the slightly salted, slightly sweet black liquid.
She felt no power. No rich flavor washed over her tongue. No strength came from the cup of hot black liquid she consumed readily.
A phone rang and she struggled to find it, shuddering awake again…
She’d relived that moment again, just as she had day after day for the past month.
“He’s gone!” She screamed into the darkness, “Why can’t I let him go?”