Chapter 3

The bright light of the English morning was unwelcome as my eyes snapped open for the second time. A condescending peal erupted from the clock beside me, signaling the time - 5:00 AM. I sat up again, shifting my weight and swinging my legs onto the floor. I felt a pang of pain as I saw the perfectly smooth sheets on Gregory’s side of the bed, certain that he was no longer alive. Attempting to shift the sudden weight of emotion these thoughts produced, I washed and dressed quickly, choosing a black skirt and matching jacket - more casual clothes than I was suited to,  and applying a thin layer of eyeliner to the upper lids of my greenstone coloured eyes. I brushed my jet black hair as the tips kissed my collarbone. I ate quickly, took the small case I had packed previously and left the building. Having stepped out into the cold air outside, I found the driver waiting for me. I took my seat behind him and nodded. He reversed the car, turned it to face the automatic gates, and drove out of the complex.

To the few onlookers present, I would have appeared to be a young professional leaving for work. I smiled, excited at the prospect of a new mission; it provided a new puzzle to solve.

Three hours later I sat at the departure gate at Heathrow, reading what appeared to be the latest issue of The Economist, however I had wedged a copy of my mission briefing within its pages. As the request for all those who had booked a business flight seat to board the plane rang out over the intercom, I closed the notes, placed them into my only bag of luggage and headed out through the adjoining corridor to the plane. I shuddered, its shape reminding me of my recurring nightmare. I smiled warmly to the flight attendants as they greeted me, and found my seat. I knew that this would be the most comfortable part of my journey. Once the other passengers had arrived and the pilot welcomed the mass of people who were contained within the aeroplane aboard, the plane taxied along the runway. As the wheels left the ground, I bid a fond farewell to Mother England, going back to my briefing.

The particulars of my imminent plans had woven themselves together into one long timeline. I took the opportunity to sleep, catching up with the rest I missed by my nightmare’s efforts. This sleep, drowned in the whirr of engines and the cold embrace of the air-con was too light to contain the weight of a dream, but of enough substance to refresh me. Having awoken from my dreamless slumber, I began to think about Gregory, the man I had loved. I had seen the blood ooze from his wounds as my tongue lay, abused, on the floor, blood pooling about it. Blood had poured out of my mouth like a macabre waterfall. In my shock and pain, I had crumpled through weakness and fallen out of consciousness, as I lay atop my Gregory. I had woken upon a hospital bed, with a thousand stitches, without a voice, and without a husband. They told me of his fate as I cried countless, silent tears. The one thing that had kept me weighted to this world was my job. I no longer feared death.

I had nothing left to live for.

The End

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