A Simple Life (pt17)

Coleen was content with feeling empty.

This was the feeling of fulfillment. She accomplished what she had set out to do. Of course she had not died, but that would have been too good for her. This way she got to see her world realized and her name smeared as far as she had been able to defile it. She would hear word of Ami through Emil’s lips and she would just live.

Not that she had a choice.

The numbness crept from her heart and into her limbs. Maybe she would never be able to do anything more active, she had never been good at that in the first place. Different than her will pushing her onward. She did not need a strong will. She could keep moving on because she could not feel.

Someone had once asked if she felt anything. Now she could truthfully say she did not.

Whoever had asked would never known. Coleen didn’t remember who had asked.

A Simple Life (pt16)

“The roof needs to be repaired,” she told him when Emil finally came out to see what the sound had been.

“Oh. What gave you that impression?”

The knife that pierced through the hard shell that was supposed to be their shelter. That was how the strong took down the weak. Some had forgotten that people wanted the weak to survive. Why else could they then call someone else to get this sort of thing fixed?

“I will have to be elsewhere,” she said. She could not risk everything on a single sight.

“Where should we move to?”

Coleen was not sure how he had come to that conclusion, but did not try to reiterate herself. They did not have to move anywhere. Though perhaps she should. Another place. Somewhere that might not know her face.

But everywhere did. She had made sure of that.

A Simple Life (pt15)

She had gone outside to check the damage to the roof. The tree branch stuck through the shingles above her room. That would have to be fixed before the rains came. Emil would have to call someone about it, which meant Coleen would have to be elsewhere.

Now that was the question. Where could she go during that time? It had not even been a year yet. Who knew how long it would be until her face was forgotten. The hatred when the usurped king was spoken of… at the very least that would last a long time. It was something she was proud of. People would hate her. That was what she had accomplished. She had fixed everything by making them all hate her.

If they had hated other things before, perhaps things would have been much easier.
Or not. Coleen had to be the only thing who could not be forgiven.

Yet there were three people she knew who did not hate her. Or (even for the one who must) they had forgiven her. Forgiven her in some sick, twisted way.

Emil did not hate her. Then again, Emil had never seemed to hate anyone. He was annoyed at times, but that was as close to hate as he could manage. Emil could never hate her. Something Coleen would just have to live with.

Ami did not hate her either. Coleen did not know if she had forgiven her though.

Maybe Emil was the only person who had forgiven her who did not hate her.

A Simple Life (pt14)

She had often thought that Emil would die when giving her his immortality. He hadn’t helped much with that impression, straight up telling Coleen that if she accepted it one day that he would die.

“Lots of people wouldn’t have thought it possible for someone to seal away immortality either, to keep someone from taking it,” Emil had commented. When had he first said that? Perhaps eight months before, shortly after her death.

Coleen wondered whether he only did this to keep an eye on her. It was not like he needed more of a life to live. While she reminded him constantly of things he should not do now that he wasn’t immortal, he reminded her more often of things that did not matter now that she was.

Maybe he did not want to live a normal life now. Maybe he waited for her to no longer need him.

Coleen would always need Emil. He was the beginning of the end of her numbness. She could feel it when she thought of him. The need of someone to know her, the real her, as only Emil ever had.

(There had been someone else who eventually had, but Coleen did not want to think of that person either.)

A Simple Life (pt13)

Agon was just a game. It did not matter whether she had thought so or not back then. The truth was it had been created for a purpose, but now was only played for entertainment. The knight Lamar had used his Agon match against the Faith for his own amusement. Amusement and a way of determining the Faith’s character.

Emil finished setting everything up. He waited for her to choose her colour.

The white of Faith’s outfit, the white I fit myself into. The red of royalty, the red I forced myself into.

(The red of a certain warrior, a certain knight. The white of Faith once again.)

For the life of her, an immortal life that did not matter, she could not choose between white and red.

A Simple Life (pt12)

“It was always more about interaction than the game,” she finally said.

“That one game? Or all of them?”

Emil had caught on to something Coleen had not allowed herself to ever think about. She had liked to win. She had loved to win. Until the end, she had always wanted things to go her way. Even when everything fell apart. As things unravelled, as she would do was decide she wanted something else so she could still win.

Perhaps every game had been about Coleen trying to figure out something about her opponent. Her opponent: herself.

“It’s just a game.”

Emil didn’t look like he believed it. But it was true.

A Simple Life (pt11)

Only after Emil’s eyes widened slightly in surprise did Coleen feel that her left eye was twitching. A muscle spasm she was unable to control. No, not that. A muscle spasm which meant her body felt something her mind hadn’t caught up to yet. Because despite realizing her reaction, Coleen did not feel like trying to deny it or bring any further attention to it.

She had been trying to not think of Lamar.

She had been trying not to think at all. After all, thinking was something that King Cole had done to ruin everything. And Coleen was not that person now. What was there to think about? It was not like she needed to rush it. She had an eternity to think.

Coleen would not pass this curse onto anyone.

A Simple Life (pt10)

Emil had pulled out the Agon board he had bought and told her he actually knew how to play. Not only did he know how to play, he told her he thought a lot of her analogies with the game were rather stupid. As if Coleen was talking about putting the queen undefended ahead on the board.

“Good thing I was talking for morale,” she retorted. “Those analogies were never a real game of Agon.”

“Why don’t you admit you simply said those things to make your game more interesting? To give your opponent a chance to do something that might make you need to think.”

Coleen did not reply. Emil had said it out loud, so there was no point in admitting it.

“You should have told Lamar his move was illegal, rather than losing your temper.”

A Simple Life (pt9)

Yet Alton had gotten to live to see Coleen betray him and everything he thought she had lived for. At least Lorene never realized what Coleen really was. At least she had that. A belief in a person who was not real. A Coleen she had imagined and not the one who had actually held her as she died. She had preferred that Coleen. Coleen was glad she thought she had died with that one.

Yet nothing about Emil was like either Alton or Lorene. It had been five months since she had died and Coleen realized there was nothing she could do about starting to reflect on everything that had happened over the last few years. She had pushed that through while going through her final steps, but now she didn’t have that distraction. She thought of Ami. She thought of Alton. She thought of Lorene.

There were more people than that, but Coleen tried to keep it to a minimum. Maybe just thinking about those three would keep her from thinking about the rest.

There was no amount of numbness that could keep everything out if she thought about all of them.

Coleen needed something to do.