The house felt cold, not just because it was autumn and the sun lost its warmth by three in the afternoon, it was more than that. It was the cold of emptiness, the lack of human spirit. There was no talking or laughing now, no mess, no annoying little habits to silently curse at as he went about his day. Just quiet and stillness and the cold.
He had packed up Her clothes and personal belongings, but hadn’t had the heart to get rid of them yet. It helped not being able to see them, to come across little pieces of Her as he went through his daily routines. Made it feel more real, Her not being there anymore.
He hadn’t made any changes to the house. People kept telling him he should, make it his own instead of theirs. But he couldn’t, and anyway, he liked it the way it was. It suited his needs and they had decorated it together. It was as much his choices as Hers.
He sat in his study unable to work. He missed Her, everything about Her. He decided he must work. He turned to his desk, looking for his pen. It was nowhere to be found. ‘Blast! Where the bloody hell is it,’ he said under his breath. A breeze shifted a pile of papers even though there was no window, no source for the moving air. There was his pen. That was one of Her talents. Knowing where he had left things. Always there with just what he needed, just when he needed it. He helped himself to a cup of tea and smiled.
She’d watched the car slam into the back of the truck. It had all happened so quickly, but now going over it again, it all seemed to happen in slow motion. She thought of fleeing, of driving away as fast as she could, but then she realised there was no need to. There was no one to know she had been following Her, no one to make the connection between them. She’d be just another witness with no idea why the car had been going so fast, so frantically, so erratically.
It was a coincidence, a happy accident (bad choice of words, huh?), that she had been following Her. She had seen Her by chance and was curious as to Her life and what made Her better, what made him want Her. She knew he was the love of a lifetime the first time she had met him and she thought they had been happy. They were happy, until he met Her. Then everything changed, life was shattered. She was shattered. Why did he suddenly want Her, plain and seemingly ordinary?
Following Her to the hairdressers, she had waited and watched. She followed Her to the supermarket, the shops, post office, everywhere. Boring, ordinary tasks, what was so special about Her? At some point she’d been noticed and it occurred to Her that she was following. Then the panic, the speeding and the crash.
She hadn’t intended that, or any harm at all, but she wasn’t sorry either. She could now bump into him somewhere, accidentally (oops, there’s that word again) of course, and now could play the supportive old friend. Perhaps he would see what he gave up, what he threw away for Her. Maybe now, she could be happy again.
It is always assumed that ghosts haunt houses, places, but they don’t. They attach to people, those who loved them, those they loved. Her attachment was to him and it was Her intention to protect him wherever he went. Now, here she was in Her house, playing the understanding counsellor. Helping him through the hardest time in his life. Surely she hadn’t planned it, an accident that was no accident? She hadn’t coped well with the break up, but surely she wasn’t driven to murder? Still, she couldn’t have him, especially now, when he was so vulnerable, so lonely and grief stricken. Surely he knew he wasn’t alone, that he still had Her. It seemed to Her that he did feel Her presence, notice Her helping him out when possible and it appeared to Her that he needed Her help again now. If she could drive Her to Her death, what would she do to him, especially if she were rejected – again.
It would be Her biggest task yet. It had taken Her ages to master the small things. The breezes, moving little things, suggesting ideas so that he could never quite decide if they had occurred to him naturally or come to him from somewhere else. This would take practice, timing and all of Her tricks. It was up to Her to do something so that she would leave him alone.
He was going through their wedding album, when she had turned up. He made tea while she sat scowling at the open pages. The pages were heavy, it took Her such effort to turn them, but it had the desired effect. She screamed.
‘Are you ok?’ he said rushing into the room.
‘The page turned by itself,’ she said shakily, standing staring down at the album on the coffee table.
He laughed. ‘Don’t worry about it. Her presence won’t hurt you.’
‘What are you talking about?’ she said, eyes wide.
‘It’s just Her way, being helpful,’ he said returning to the kitchen for the mugs of tea.
‘You mean it’s Her?’ she said pointing at the album.
‘Well who else would it be?’ he said smiling down at the photos as he placed the mugs on the table.
‘You’re mad,’ she said sitting down once more. ‘You need me more than I thought. Your grief has driven you mad.’
It was too much for Her, it was time for something drastic. Using all Her might, the mug of hot tea flew off the table and she cried out in pain as the scalding liquid soaked into jeans, jumper and shoes. She jumped up, eyes wild. ‘It is Her!’ she cried. ‘I didn’t mean it, this is Her revenge,’ and she ran from the house. He didn’t know what she meant. Revenge for what? Anyway, he knew revenge wasn’t Her thing, nor jealousy, but he knew there would be a reason for Her actions.
Her work was done, she wouldn’t be back, she wouldn’t dare, knowing she would be at Her mercy. One day he would meet someone who would be right for him, and it would give Her pleasure to see him move on. Until then, he had Her to watch over him.