Chapter 16

I remember the white light, the crisp, clinical sheets. I remember the first face I saw being Gregory’s. I smiled weakly, and tried to sit up, but found that a pain in the pit of my stomach prevented me. I lay back onto the pillows, feeling hopeless. Gregory moved his chair closer to the hospital bed, smiling, and took my hand. He stroked the back of my hand with his thumb.

“You’ll be better soon. The doctor said that the machete missed all your vital organs. He didn’t push it in deep enough to kill you.” I shivered at the memory of that man, and looked questioningly into Gregory’s eyes.   “He’s dead, Myra, you dealt with that. He can’t hurt us anymore.”  I smiled then; the fear expiring as Gregory kissed my forehead. “The doctors worked out why the sufferers couldn’t control themselves. They were drugged up enough on the crystal traces to be under its influence, but too far away to receive its commands.” I nodded slowly, taking this information in, affirming to Gregory that I understood him. Feeling inwardly warm, I closed my eyes and allowed myself to heal.  

*

I sat in front of the mirror, applying scarlet lipstick. Admiring the final result, adjusted my hair and adjusted the pendant on my necklace so that it lay centered around my neck. I stood up, smoothed down my floor-length dark dress and examined the high heels I wore. I looked again into the mirror and saw Gregory behind me. “Hello, beautiful,” he said, wrapping his arms around my shoulders and brushing my neck with his lips. I smiled in response to his compliment and stood up, leaving the apartment we shared on the tenth floor of the UIE building. We took the lift down to the ground floor, passed through the glass automatic doors and soaked up the cool evening air, before sliding into the waiting taxi. Against our better judgement we had booked a table at an upmarket restaurant. The light exuded by the lampposts and the glowing signs stretched over the taxi windows, bathing us with a strange glow. In the comfortable silence we took in all the normality which surrounded us; we sat in a transparent box containing wild, thrilling experience, as well as suffering and spilled blood. In the world, but not of it, we waited for the taxi to come to a halt outside the restaurant. We walked through the shimmering glass doors and marveled at the decadence and coldness of the interior; although it was beautiful, it was distant and cold, displacing warmth and passion with apathy and emptiness. We left almost as soon as we had arrived, both wondering to ourselves why we had ever thought that braving an upper-class restaurant again was a good idea. We had never been conventional in that respect, yet we celebrated our differences, in our own way.

*

We soon found ourselves curled up, still in formal dress, on the sofa, each nursing a ready meal and watching a film. As the light streamed from the television screen, the shifting pictures telling their own story, our ready meals were eaten, their shells left on the table in front of the sofa. Moved by the warmth and intimacy that moment held, despite the informality of it all, our hands met, our bodies shifted - I leant upon Gregory, remembering his scent, remembering the tone of his breathing. This is where we were both most comfortable. This was where we belonged; we belonged with each other. No matter where we went on our missions, that was the constant, and it would never change.

The End

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