Prologue: Her Still Face
Hidden In Plain Sight
Her Still Face
There she was lying on a bed. She was asleep, never to wake again. Her face was strangely peaceful, so unaware of the suffering it was currently bearing. Her eyebrows creased slightly as if she was thinking intelligently in her horrid state. Her pink lips pursed outwards in a doll-like pout, unexpectedly making her face glow with childlike innocence.
This was exactly what she was- a child who was stripped of her happiness by unfortunate circumstances, eating away her vivid soul.
This was partly my fault. I shouldn’t have closed up my heart and acted oblivious to her mental distress. I was her mother. It was my job to be there for her and I failed at that. My last hope as a mother was to make it known to her that I loved her, despite my actions yesterday.
Slowly I brushed my hand across her delicate face. She still slept and was relatively unmoved by the action. I sighed and turned my attention to the beeping monitor. The rhythmic beep and the lines on the screen were the only sign of life she showed. I watched the lines cautiously as they formed angular patterns on the screen. The longer I watched the stronger my hope became.
At first I felt foolish for basing my hope on some lines created by a damn machine, but then I began to consider the thought of it being accurate.
Suddenly I heard the click of the door being opened and the footsteps of an expected visitor. Then a hand rested on my shoulder.
It didn’t take a person with half a brain to figure that it was the nurse.
She let out a sniff behind me. It was low and barely audible, but I still heard it.
“There has been no improvement in her critical condition. If this continues she’ll...” she trailed off.
I cut off before she got the chance to say the rest. Was she predicting that my daughter would die? She would never die! I’d be damned if she ever did.
“Don’t say that!” I demanded, “I know she can fight this.”
My voice was more raspy than normal, but I didn’t mind it. Infact it matched perfectly with my mental state: coarse and filled with cracks. I pressed my lips together and waited for stocky nurse to respond.
“Mrs Anderson there’s nothing we can do. You just have to accept it,” she replied with a touch of concern.
She left the room without another word.
Having felt the absence of her presence, my heart began to beat fast, and my brain was beginning to throb. I soon began to realise that I remembering my last words before I…
“Get out of my life! Don’t ever call me your mother again. In fact if I were you wouldn’t show up to wedding at all!”
The words churned inside my head, resulting with a throbbing headache. I remembered her words before my outburst.
“But Ma he mistreated me, he hated me,” she cried. She paused to wipe a tear from her eye.
“He hurt me,” she added.
I repaid her with a slap across the face and threw her out of the house.
That was a dumb move.
She still insisted on telling me that he wasn’t who he said he was. She was driving me crazy.
“Can’t you see? He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t care about you, about us,” she explained.
My heart was crushed. How dare her! She didn’t know anything about his love for me. Her foolish little seventeen year old brain wouldn’t understand.
I decided to do the most unthinkable thing.
“And you think that I love you? I don’t love you sweetheart,” I replied with the most terrifying sincerity.
The girl was physically devastated. The light from her eyes disappeared completely and her golden bronze skin was void of colour. Her eyes widened to hide the forthcoming tears that desperately wanted to escape their almond shaped prison.
I had hurt her. I knew that, but still I didn’t want to admit it. I watched her tiny form bolt through the door in a fit of tears and deafening sobs.
I stared back at her lifeless face. I could still see the tear marks on the tender skin near her eyes. There was a swelling that formed on her right cheek. My God, I had destroyed her face with my wickedness.
I would have broken into tears if it weren’t for the sudden appearance of a dark silhouette. The mangled figure pointed at the bed, at her pale body, then to the monitor. The mechanical device seemed to glow a dangerous light, and I knew why.
All the once lively lines on the screen had frozen into still and dead lines. The gentle beat was now a deafening and thought- provoking sound.
She was dead.
The sudden revelation made my head engulf into flames. The tendons in my legs began to pain, thus making my entire lower half numb. My already obscure vision was filling with white dots. My heart was thumping hard inside my chest like the membrane of a drum so much to the point that it became unbearable.
Everything else that happened was a complete mystery. All I know is that my body hit something hard... like the floor and my eyes began to close.
Now I found myself in another room. I was lying on a small bed. The room was very similar to the one that my daughter laid in. The only thing missing was... my daughter.
A strike of pain suddenly shot through my skull. My reflex kicked in and I clutched the side of my head as the pain lasted.
I let out as a groan of annoyance. It came out as a low sound that was unrecognisable as a human voice. I didn’t criticise it. I didn’t care.
A second after, I heard the squeak of the door’s hinges as it was being opened. I lifted my head only to meet the gaze of a man in a white jacket. He looked as normal as any man could have been. His eyes showed no emotion. His lips were simply a thin line on his pale face. He held a clipboard in his hands.
But what I noticed the most was the woman who stood at his side. She was the nurse from earlier, but this time her face wasn’t neutral. Her eyes now shone with a hint of sorrow. Her scleras appeared to be a darker shade of the normal white and her pupils were dilated.
The man was the first to speak.
“Good morning Mrs Anderson,” he greeted. His voice was monotone. It would have sent chills down my spine if I weren’t having a God-awful headache right now.
I didn’t reply. I could not form words with my mouth.
Seeing my lack of response, he sighed and began speaking.
“We found you unconscious in your daughter’s room when we alerted about the sudden change in her condition.” He elaborated no further. His monotone voice reflected the expression on his face; stony and emotionless. He obviously had been trained well.
The nurse however looked like she wanted to burst into tears. Her face was red and drenched in sweat. The blood vessels in her eyes were more prominent, making her eyes larger than their original size.
I was glad that she was sympathetic towards my plight, unlike her male companion.
Then I suddenly found my voice. I looked into the doctor’s bland eyes.
“She’s dead isn’t she?” I asked, almost chocking on the words.
It was like something clicked in the man’s head. His stoic expression suddenly disappeared. He clutched the clipboard tightly at his chest near his heart. I began to sense a new emotion consume his aura.
“I’m sorry Mrs Anderson,” he said. I could sense him trying not to lose his composure. He already failed. Meanwhile I was getting angry. His answer wasn’t enough. I needed total confirmation.
I looked at the nurse.
At that moment my heart shattered into millions of miniscule pieces. Death had taken another loved one from me.
Such a wretched thing.
It shouldn’t be a thing.
I shouldn’t have expected to keep forever. Everyone has to die at some point.
It was the law of nature.
It was God’s will.
But she was so young. I loved her more than anything. She was my everything.
I stood there as still as a statue. I didn’t dare shed a single tear. I couldn’t cry. She wouldn’t want me to. She would want me to stay strong. As her mother I would make her proud.
I loved her.
Subsequently, the nerves in my arm began to burn intensely. They struggled to send messages to my brain, to inform it of my sorrow. My brain in response vibrated at fast tempo in my skull. It added more pain to my already ungodly headache.
My vocal cords never felt the same after that.
In a fraction of a second, my body found itself surrounded by eternal darkness. I started to question my surroundings, but stopped. I whispered the words that I knew best.
I loved her.
I descended deeper into the darkness. It got more intense, so intense that my body was fully engulfed in it. Then I became a part of it.
I loved her.
I closed my eyes, and prepared myself for my fall to death. But I wasn’t falling.
I was just sinking deeper into my own depression.
I loved her
I finally hit the imaginary ground. The darkness sucked the last bit of consciousness from me. I let the depression consume me.Depression was my friend