A small mystery.
Two Halves of One Whole
I rose from bed and crossed to the window to scan the newly-pink sky, assessing the day. It really did not matter. Today would be a repeat of every other day for the past two years. Whether the late Summer offered another unseasonably cool day or displayed a last effort in the normal heat and humidity of the season was purely irrelevant to me. I was wrapped in a blanket of depression where nothing so trivial as seasonal affectations could ever penetrate. Even rising and moving about was so robotic as to be mindless.
If I concentrated really carefully I could just recall when it had all began. Not the date, of course. Such trivialities had been consigned to oblivion from the damaged data base of my drug infested brain. Drugs that were designed to ease my depression served only to numb the synapses of consciousness barely enough to keep me from doing 'something rash', as well-meaning doctors had so delicately defined my suicidal tendencies. But the event itself was still there to be relived endlessly.
That night was a blur of white-hot heat, red and orange-yellow flashes behind eyelids clamped determinedly shut, and the smells of burning leather and melting metal. And the screams. Endless, agonizing, man-screams that accused me every night as I tried to sink into the oblivion promised on the label of the little brown bottle. I could still feel the gravel of the pavement claw its way into my back as I lay on the roadway in those anguished moments immediately after the crash, every neuron and nerve ending pleading for the blessed relief of death. But I had not died. He had. There had been no rain-slick pavement, no stray animal, and no glaring lights from oncoming traffic. There was only me in a moment of inattention behind the wheel.
And so today I would once again face the endless question; the one asked of me over and over again by the investigating officers almost from the moment I had regained consciousness in the hospital. Who had been driving my car? And who was the other person there with me that night? Witnesses swore to seeing a girl of my general height, weight, and coloring fleeing the scene immediately after the crash. But I had no memory of anyone. And no trace of her had been found. No identification. No personal effects. Except the half-heart locket lying on the driver's seat of my car, as if deliberately placed there after the fact, unscathed by the heat that had melted all else into an unrecognizable mass. A locket identical to the one I wore around my neck at all times, and which had survived under my shirt. The half-heart which I had so lovingly placed around the neck of my twin sister as she lay in her casket seven years earlier, when we were only twelve years old.
Short story by Barbara Carleton
Read 924 times
Written on 2010-09-17 at 18:30
Tags Mystery  Drama
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