Emil was not at home when the doorbell rang. Coleen no longer had an impulse to see who it was or ruin everything by opening the door. She had not had that impulse for fifteen months.
Something was wrong. Coleen could feel it, even though she had not neared the door to check. The person had not left. They wanted someone to answer the door. They knew she was home.
They knew someone was home. Though if they saw her face all they would know was that the usurped King Cole was here. No matter what, Coleen could not allow that to happen. Not even if someone was breaking in to steal things. She would have to hide and wait it out. A passive tactic she had never before implemented, but knew was her only option.
She felt a slow smoulder in her chest, before remembering it shouldn’t matter too much to her.
Coleen walked away from the living room. The handle jiggled – the person was not giving up. Then she heard a familiar sound.
They are picking the lock.
She heard another familiar sound.
They succeeded in picking the lock.
All her feelings tumbled around her. She drowned.
But she could not die, so she had to resurface again.
“Now that was silly of you.”
(Underneath his comment, the unspoken “are you all right?” that meant she was not. She never would be and he was the only one to ever truly understand that.)
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.
Continue reading “A Simple Life (pt21)” →
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.
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.)
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.
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.
“I didn’t think you were the type to play with other people’s hair,” Emil commented, trying to rile her up. Just like he used to all the time.
She almost wished it would work.
Coleen used some hair clips to pull Emil’s bangs back from his forehead. After all, there was nothing to hide anymore. She settled the mirror in front of him so he could examine the new appearance.
For the longest time, Emil said nothing.
“I’m cutting my hair.”
And there was an hour, gone to waste.
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.