Her: Chapter 14
A week passes, or at least, I think it's a week. I don't have a clock in my room to read me the day, but it fits in that amount of time.
Since the break in, I've noticed a difference in the people's behavior. Anxiety and pressure fog the area and stifles the words of those I talk to. Doctor Tunnett still visits me, but what used to be only once a week has now been three times, like he's on an invisible deadline.
I haven't seen Marsha Glas for some time and a part of me doesn't want to. There's nothing about her that I can find is authentic and distrust surges up inside of me every time she's around. I also get more needles in my neck than I like, but luckily, the dizzying feeling I get is fading more and more each time, like I remember how to fight my way back to my body. I think it's the reaction they were hoping for, because Doctor Rellings seems just a bit more pleased each time.
At the end of the week when I meet up with him again, the atmosphere has shifted. Mostly, because Marsha Glas is there, looking at me. The smile on her lips belies the hard look in her eyes.
"Beatrice, I 've been told you have really improved," she says, standing at the front of the room that Idna has led me into. It looks like something that would hold a conference, with a stationary glass table lining the center and four transparent chairs set around the perimeter. I look at it and then at Doctor Rellings and then back to her. That smile is still there, like her face is grafted that way.
I know something is important if she's here. I have a feeling that she's pretty much the head of the place.
I nod. "Then I guess I have."
"Yes, yes you have," she says. "And now that you have regained your strength, it is time for you to do something for us."
"And what's that?"
She smiles again, the expression taunting. "Beatrice, I don't suppose you can recall the life you led prior to arriving here, can you?"
She knows I don't. She knows, but I still shake my head. "No."
She clasps her hands together; gives me a look that is a try for sympathy. "Beatrice, you must hate not knowing. Who you are, what you've done. All your contributions." She walks towards the table and pats one of the chairs opposing her. "Come. Sit."
I listen, but my steps are hesitant.
"I know it's a burden," she continues, "to have all these unanswered questions, but I can give you some answers" Her tone suddenly shifts. "I'm the only one who can."
Her eyes snap up them, back to the doctor that stands a few feet away. "You are excused, Doctor. No meeting will be necessary between the two of you today. The testing is complete."
The doctor nods, casting me a look before disappearing out the door. I listen as his footsteps fade away.
Then I look back at Mrs. Glas. "You know where I'm from?"
"You're from this city," she says. "Located no more than fifteen minutes south."
"Do I have family?"
She nods. "A brother. Your parents, though….I'm sorry."
I hear nothing behind her apology. To me, they just sound like words, spoken in respect to the ghosts I don't see.
"What did…" What was I? What did I do? Can I go back? Will I ever know?
"Beatrice," she says, leaning forward. A strand of dark hair falls into her eyes and only this close up do I notice the lines beneath them. "I don't mean to drudge up your past and use it against you, but you should know the person you were. Because here is your chance to change it and to keep from becoming it again."
I swallow, the questions still there, on the back of my tongue. "Who was I?"
Her voice is eager when she replies, "you were a soldier. You didn't follow the rules because you didn't care. You were reckless and because of that, people died."
That catches me off guard. I feel something swell in my chest. Disbelief? Fear? But for some reason, it don't seem impossible to me. I wonder of the things I have done and for a second, I'm grateful I can't recall any of them. "What kind of soldier?"
"A rebel," she snaps. "A person who lacked responsibility and got involved with the wrong missions. That's why your parents died," she continues, sighing like it's the saddest thing she's ever heard. "They died for you, because you put them in that position."
I sit there for a moment until what she says sinks in. Then I shove away from the table. "Why are you telling me this?" I ask. I don't want to know. I want the words to mean nothing to me, but they don't feel completely foreign. It's hovering at the edge of my memory, next to to man, close enough to feel, but too far away to see.
Mrs. Glas sighs again and leans back in her chair. "I'm telling you this so that you know. So that you can make a choice."
I scoff at that and glance away, suddenly unable to look at her. I want to deny it. I want to believe that before this, I was better. This woman has nothing on me. She can be lying. But something churns in my stomach and I know what it is. The raw emotion that has the ability to tear a person apart.
Guilt. Guilt is hard to manipulate and it washes over me until I feel like I'm choking. I push the hair out my face, my voice catching as I say, "What did I do?" I'm suddenly desperate to know. I wait for her to tell me something so ludicrous that I can actually accuse her to be lying. That the feeling settling inside me isn't real. That the truth of it is all a joke.
"You've killed people, Beatrice," she says, her eyes never leaving my face and I see something darken in them. "You have blood on your hands and here's your chance to wash it off."
My eyes are tearing. No, I tell myself. This woman is a liar. A fake. A stranger who knows as much about me as I do about myself. "Who?"
I expect a list. The ticking of names off her fingers, but her gaze on me is steady, emotionless, empty as she says, "you shot your own friend."
The words roll with the others in my gut, twisting with nausea as I stare at her, waiting for the contradiction. The punch line. Anything. But it doesn't come. What comes is a short, considerate pat on my hand and I'm already too numb to pull it away from her.
"Do you see what I'm doing for you, Beatrice? You can change all that. Become someone better. It's not too late."
"What was his name?" I ask, discarding her words, trying instead to put a face to the identity of "friend."
She pauses, looks at me, deliberating. Then her lip curls and she leans forward once more and folds her hands on the table. "Will. His name was Will."
I don't dismiss the name. It pulls at someplace inside me, stirring up a scene and in my head, I see a flash of white as a gun goes off, aimed at a dark shadow in the distance.
It's not too late.