Trapped Between

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Epilogue

He sits on the flagstones and gazes down through the swirling mist. This is his favourite place, the place he comes to think.

He watches her all the time.

He watched as she crawled out of the black hole and started to live again.

He watches her now as she sits on the edge of her bed, a purple scrapbook balancing across her knees. This is her evening ritual, just before she curls up in a tight ball and cries herself to sleep.

He’s watched her do this every night since he’s been here. She will rest her hands on the cover and just when it looks like she is going to open it, she will bow her head, climb beneath the covers, and hold the book in her arms as she falls into a fitful sleep.

He leans forward, watching with attentive silver eyes as tonight she does something different.

He hears her sigh; a shaky whisper of air which seems to loosen her taut shoulders and he feels the brush of her sigh against his cheek, like the touch of a feather.

He sees her thumb reach round to the back cover and lift the pages. She lets them fall, and the force of the falling pages fans her hair away from her face, and for a moment her hair looks like a halo. She sticks her fingers between the falling leaves and lets the book sit open on a double page covered in newspaper clippings.

He watches as she smooths the open pages, running her hands over the creased pieces of paper; the frayed edges and ragged corners catch under her fingertips.

He sees her shoulders begin to heave as desperate sobs rack through her body. His forehead creases ever so slightly into what he thinks might be a frown. He’s surprised; it’s an expression that he hasn’t felt his face slip into in such a long time. It’s an expression that does not belong in a place like this.

He watches her tear out a grainy black and white picture and then clasp it to her chest. She shuts the scrapbook, tucks it under her bed covers and climbs in alongside it. Tears drip off her cheeks and each one sounds like a single ripple on a smooth, glass surfaced lake. They are the smallest of sounds but they deafen his ears. The tears glisten on her eyelashes like drops of rain and he can taste their salty warmth on his tongue.

As he watches he feels a shadow of emotion pass over him, he wants to call the shadow loss or regret, but he doesn’t really remember what those words mean anymore. Like the frown, feelings like that don’t belong here.

The shadow passes and he feels his body light up with something he does recognise; it’s a feeling that he always gets when he watches her.

Hope.

Hope that one day she will sit alongside him, here above the swirling mist. Hope that she will be happy to share his favourite place once again.

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