3. The Apology
“I’m–sorry.” A few more tears. John was weak.
“Did you just say ‘sorry’?” Hy was angry.
“I AM sorry. I’m so terribly sorry.” John pleaded.
Hy sat still for a moment. She stared at John. She saw past the surface. She saw past the watery eyes. She saw past the terror and despair. She looked into his heart and saw nothing. “You’re pathetic.”
John groveled. “What should I say? I regret doing that. I was young. I was stupid and drunk. I want to take that back.”
“You can’t take it back! She’s gone and I’m what’s left.”
“I don’t want to die. I don’t want this. I’ll do whatever you want, just please don’t kill me.” John whimpered, “I’ll make amends.”
Hy sighed. “You want to make amends. You have no idea what that even means. What that entails? You cannot make amends. You do not want to make amends. You can’t lie to me. You can’t charm me.”
John shouted, “I’ll do whatever it takes!”
Hy moved so quickly to John’s side that her body blurred behind. She was close to his ear within a second. As sweet as you please, “You know what we’re going to do, don’t you?”
4. Back to the Beginning
John panicked. He was terrified by his own words spoken back to him. Those words are the ones he always whispered to women the moment before he kissed them for the first time. His mind flipped back through time, through each woman, flashing through pictures, rapidly increasing in speed. Then everything came to a bright, white halt.
He landed on the one picture he didn’t expect to see. His own mother. The image in his mind began to play like a home movie, soft and dull at first. Her dress and hair faded into vividly bright spots of swimming color. Her face comes close to his. Her face is distorted. She whispers, “You know what were going to do, don’t you?”
John shuddered and dropped the image like a boiling pan. He shut his eyes tightly and went blank. He tried to dampen the overwhelming feelings that struck like lightning bolts.
Hy sneered. “You’ll do whatever it takes, huh?”
“I get it,” John whimpered.
Hy reassured John. “You don’t get the half of it. That’s only the beginning.”
5. Behind Closed Doors
Hy walked slowly to the door and it opened. John watched Hy as she turned to look back at him. For just a moment, a second before she disappeared, her face melted into something different. She started to shrink and wither. She was gone.
John closed his eyes tight for a few seconds and gathered himself. Trying to understand what he had just been through and seen, he heard soft cries of a small girl from the next room.
What is THAT?
The soft, wet breaths increased. A few gasps. The sounds intensified. Weakly, “No.”
She repeated the simple word until John stood. The noise immediately broke, but his mind accelerated. He was afraid to go into the next room.
Even though the noise had stopped, he could still feel things happening down the hall. Light. Warmth. An energy. His chest ached and dragged. He walked slowly to the door.
He looked and listened down the hallway for the now-silent voice. Everything was still for several seconds. He heard a small noise. Not a voice, but a body shift or a paper move. Someone was in the next room.
The hallway was dark. The hallway was usually bright with sunlight reflected in mirrors, artwork glass and light-colored tile. It was never dark. Even at night, the moon and stars found their way down the hall. The house was different. The tile was replaced with dirty, matted olive-green carpet. There was a smell: stale, heavy, metallic.
He took small steps and strained to make out cigarette butts, crumpled plastic cups, crushed beer cans and torn pieces of paper littering the floor.
As he approached the end of the exaggerated hall, he saw a sliver of silver highlighting the edges of a closed door. Whatever was happening was just beyond. The light bounced, dark to bright, when something bumped the door from the other side. He couldn’t breathe or swallow. His chest was burning. He stretched out his hand to turn the knob.