White Funeral, part seven

Fiction By Hannah W. // 2/13/2010

**I apologize for the wait, everyone, but I had a lot of trouble with this part... It's kind of... I don't know. I'm still not really satisfied, but here anyway for your enjoyment is part seven.**

 

The sun is sinking slowly down the horizon, creeping toward the edge of the world so steadily, and yet as the afternoon blooms into an orange-streaked evening I feel a sense of emptiness. Today, a week after Calixto was shot, the sun finally broke through the grey pall of winter. I begged to be allowed outside, and I was, although confined to the back porch, wrapped in my coat, a scarf, and a quilt. All I have thought about is that day, and then regretted wasting my time. Until I ask someone-- Ebber, Calixto--all this pondering is useless. I need to know what is real.
But I am afraid to talk to either of them. I have avoided Calixto all day, not that he came outside to talk to me or anything. In fact, I have not spoken to him since the day he was shot. 
What was real? If only I knew that, then I would have a sense of how much we are truly connected. If most of it really happened, then we are surely the closest of friends, bound together by such an event. If it was all a dream... Then we are two people who met by chance, and will soon go our separate ways.
Perhaps it was not real, none of it. That would explain why he didn't come to find me, didn't come to speak with me all these days. As far as I know he didn't even ask about me. Yes, it must be--
Behind me, the door squeaks open and falls shut with a soft bang. I twist around, first seeing a pair of boots, and then as I lean back and shade my eyes I take in the sight of him. Calixto. 
"They finally let me out of there," he says, sitting down slowly, carefully beside me. But there is a space of a good three feet between us.
"Yes," I reply, "the same with me. A good day for it," I add, gesturing at the vibrant sky. 
I can tell by the way that he squints and shifts position that his side hurts, still, healing slowly. "Yes," he says, and we sit in awkward silence for a while.
"What do you... remember?" he asks suddenly, and I watch his eyes flicker to the bandage around my head.
"So they told you?" I ask. "About..." I gingerly touch the bandage with gloved fingers, hands that have healed already but bear tiny, shallow scars all the same.
Calixto nods. "Your head," he says. "But what do you remember?"
I look out across the doctor's yard, the garden that his wife keeps to grow medicinal herbs. It is all very small, tidy. "I don't know. I can't be sure."
"Why not?"
"Because..." I want to tell him about the Queen but I don't want to sound silly. Instead I say, "A lot of it was so strange, and it seemed so real. But now, I know that a lot of it could have been a dream, or something. From after I was knocked out."
"I understand," he says quietly. 
"What do you remember?" I ask slowly. "Maybe if you told me, then I would know. What was real and what wasn't."
"That's the thing," Calixto says quietly. "I think... I wonder if I was dreaming, too."
"Why?" My breath catches in my throat. Maybe he saw her too, I think. I must confess it. "Did you... did you see the Queen?"
His sharp gaze locks with mine in a flash, like a jagged sliver of ice cutting through me. "Did you?"
"Yes," I confess.
He looks away. "I didn't," he says. "But... I remember things. And I don't know if they were real or just something I thought because my brain was so muddled and there was so much..." He trails off. 
I pick up the conversation again instantly, grasping at air for answers. "Do you remember the docks?" 
He nods. "Yes."
"Bronach?" I whisper.
There is a long silence. I hold my breath but let it out when I can contain it no longer. Finally, he says:
"Yes."
My heart thuds. She was real, indeed... but is she dead now, shot by the same man who tried to kill Calixto? "Do you remember her boat?" I ask softly. 
He nods slowly, meeting my eyes. 
"The docks, and her being shot?" I breathe. 
Calixto looks down. "Yes," he says. "I remember that, too."
Something inside of me bursts. Some unseen wound, that until now was scabbed over by the chance that none of it was real now has been cut afresh, bleeding fear and sorrow. "Then she is dead, surely," I whisper. So many thoughts race through my head. I didn't know her, not really; but she was shot for our sake, and guilt is a bitter taste in my mouth. Who was Bronach, that woman too young to be widowed, too young to be dead herself. What happened to her? Why wasn't she found along with us?
"Elsa," Calixto says. I look up. "We have to find her."
"She's dead, she's dead." I am choked by the words themselves, but I keep saying them. "Calixto, she must be dead. They didn't find her. She's dead."
"Even if she is," he whispers, "I need to know what happened. If her body was found. And her boat." He gives me a level stare, even but questioning. "Will you come with me?"
"Yes," I say decisively. "Yes, I will."
I have to. 

The door opens suddenly and we both jump. 
"Sorry." It's the doctor's wife, looking concerned. "Come in, you two," she says. "The temperature's dropping now that the sun's down. Besides, your dinners will be cold."
"Coming," Calixto tells her. She nods, smiles, and then slips back inside the house. "Tomorrow, then?" Calixto asks, turning to me.
"Tomorrow," I reply firmly. 
He smiles. "To dinner, then." 
I help him to his feet, so relieved to know that we are not strangers. It feels good to talk to him again, to have him by my side. Especially when I think of Bronach. I am so glad that I do not have to find the answers alone.

 

Comments

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

you said this would be the last part...and I'm glad it isn't! write more soon!

Bernadette | Tue, 02/16/2010

This is wonderful the way it

This is wonderful the way it is. I swear it should be published.

Anna | Tue, 02/16/2010

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I agree...

...this definately should be published.

James | Wed, 02/17/2010

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

yay!

This was sooo good! You really are doing an awesome job with this story! I can not wait to read more!!!

Elizabeth | Wed, 02/17/2010

************

The Holy Spirit is the quiet guest of our soul." -St. Augustine

I love this part!!! I don't

I love this part!!! I don't know what you were talking about in your author's note :-)

Erin | Wed, 02/17/2010

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

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