He made her yank out weeds. Coleen only did as much as he made her, hating the feeling. These gloves didn’t fit her hands well. If Emil wanted her to do more of this she would have to make better ones. Or come up with another way to not be roped into this. She should not have to weed the backyard. She could care less how the place looked.
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.
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.
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.
She used to do this with Ami. When they were younger and she liked doing more with her hair than just letting it grow and grow around her shoulders and down her back. She considered that and moved her fingers more gently. Emil did not move, tolerating her actions.
It would be so easy to check on how Ami was doing. Turn on the television and watch as her sister looked over the restoration process. But that would require thinking about Ami and she was too busy feeling numb. If she thought about her, then Coleen would have to think about the taint they had grown up in the middle of. The taint Ami had grown up with. The taint was supposed to be dead now.
Yet here she was, having betrayed her own convictions. Here she was alive. She thought of the peace she had felt in Ami’s arms as she died. Right before she remembered she had fulfilled her promise to Emil and she would not stay dead.