Halloween Fiction: the sculptor: 9 of 11

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“Thomas, is that you?”  Moira nearly knocked over her tray, reaching out to him.

Thomas ran to her and pushed it out of the way.  He gathered her up in his arms, rumbling, “Moira, I love you.  I love you so much.” Violet closed the door behind quietly behind him, to give them time alone together as she always did.

contentment4“It is you!”  For a moment Moira’s voice was like a child’s, excited and high.  She hugged him tightly, then pulled back to look at his face, “You’ve changed.  You’ve lost a lot of weight.”

“So have you.” He caressed her cheek lovingly, tears welling up in his eyes, “It’s been a long time since I’ve heard your voice.”

Panic crossed over her face for a moment, as she glanced around her, “I don’t think they’ll hear me from in here.”  She started to shake, “I don’t think they can get in here.”

Thomas held her close, stroking her hair. Even given the experience he had had over the weekend, he still had an impulse to correct her.  He stifled it, murmuring instead, “No, they can’t.  They can’t hear you, they can’t get in here.”

Moira relaxed into his arms and let him comfort her.  Pushing away again, she looked at Thomas with relief, “Violet said that she would keep them out.”

Thomas nodded, “She would do anything to keep you safe, she cares for you very much.”

Smiling shyly, Moira glanced toward the door where Violet had last been, “I know.  I don’t know why, but I know she cares.”  Her eyes unfocused as she gazed into nothingness.  Thomas’ heart began to fall, as he thought she had lost herself again.  His head drooped with fearful sorrow, when she tapped his shoulder, and spoke to him, her voice skeptical, “Thomas, you said they couldn’t get in.”

“They can’t.” he tried to sound reassuring, reaching out to touch her cheek again, “There is no way they could travel this distance, get through all these doors.”

“But before you said that they weren’t real.”  She squinted at him, working to concentrate, like she was putting the pieces of a puzzle together.  “You always insisted they weren’t real.”

Thomas stammered.  He had thought he would be talking to her sedated, motionless form.  Over the weekend as he unpacked things, half-listening to Patrick’s endless babbling, he worked out an entire speech of apology that he would address to her.  While he could not tell her about his dream, he could not lie to her either. Suddenly her delusions seemed so much more plausible.  He understood how she got that way. But facing her, talking to her, he lost all his words. Moira’s recovery shocked him too much to be creative.  With her awake, coherent, it was an different matter, he did not want to feed her fear, her madness, by admitting he had encountered them, too.  “Um,”  he did not know what to say, he just wrapped his hands about hers.

She started to pat his hand, waiting for an answer, when she felt the bandages on his hands.  Thomas had forgotten about the cuts.  “What happened to you?” She sounded so concerned.  Finally, he thought, she’s coming out of herself.

“I hurt myself packing.”  Thomas rushed to say it, his voice too forceful.  When he saw Moira’s eyes narrow he continued on, trying to distract her.  “I bought a house for us, its a beautiful place, I can’t wait for you to see it. You have an enormous studio, with so much light. I’d brought you pictures the last time I was here, but you were too sleepy to see them…”

“What were you packing when you hurt yourself?”  There was an edge of hysteria in her question, she had begun shaking with fear.

Thomas drew her close again, stroking her hair, unable to decide what he should tell her.  He mumbled an “I’m sorry,” which made her tremble more.

“Did they hurt you?”  She began weeping into his shoulder, “I was always afraid that they would strike out at you if they can’t get to me…”

He just held her, in silence, trying to give her his strength.

There was a knock at the door, just before Violet swooped in with three servings of Jell-O and three small plastic cups filled with ginger ale.  “I thought we should celebrate, so I raided the kitchen…”  her sing-song paused when she saw Moira’s tears, “Now what’s going on here people?” she scolded, “You’re supposed to be happy today!”

“They’ve gone after Thomas,: Moira wailed pushing Thomas away from her and grabbing his wrists, “just look at his hands.” She exposed the wounds for Violet to see.

Thomas looked helplessly at the nurse, as she studied him.  “Is this true, Thomas?”  To Thomas’ amazement, there was no hint of skepticism in her voice, just sober concern.

“I was tired.”  Thomas moved to the bed and leaned against it, staring at the floor.  He could not look either woman in the eye. “I had waited to pack the sculptures last.  I must have had a nightmare.”

“And a dream cut your hands?”  Violet put the tray down on the bureau and grabbed some gloves from the box by the door.  Gracefully, she moved toward him and began inspecting the wounds, ripping the bandages off impatiently.  “You think we are so stupid as to believe that?”

“I…”  Thomas stammered as he looked at Moira, her eyes huge with fear.  He could not lie to that face.  “I don’t know.”  His voice was so low when he responded, that he could barely hear it himself.

“Oh, no.”  Moira cried, “Oh, no.”  She looked at Violet desperately, “It’s because I’m not there.  They want to hurt me any way they can, so they’re going after him.  He’d be safe if I was there!”

“I’m not going to let anything happen to either one of you.”  Violet sounded so confident, she comforted Thomas as well as Moira.  Her stare penetrated both of them as she spoke, those lovely, serious eyes adding weight to what she said. “No one or nothing will hurt you while I’m here to stop them.” Violet finished inspecting Thomas’ cuts, and said authoritatively, “I’ll be back in a minute, these need to be cleaned.  They are already starting to get infected.” She smacked Thomas on the arm, “You should have called me, I would have taken care of this earlier.”

While Violet was gone, Moira and Thomas stared at each other.  Finally, Thomas said, “I’m sorry, Moira.”

She shook her head, about to speak, when Violet came back with a tray filled with bandages, alcohol and other first aid supplies.  “You two have got to understand that I’m not going to let any harm come to either one of you,”  she put on a new pair of gloves and ripped open some kind of wound cleaner.  Thomas winced as she scrubbed out the cuts.  “I care for you too much. I have grown attached these past months. You couldn’t be more dear to me if you were my own flesh and blood.”

Moira relaxed marginally with the Violet’s last reassurance, watching soundlessly as Violet finished cleaning and rebandaging Thomas’ hands.  When she was done, Violet ripped off her gloves, pushed Thomas back toward Moira and passed out the Jell-O and ginger ale.  Raising her own glass high, she enthused, “Now, here’s to the future… to the day Moira goes home and you have me over for dinner.”

Their cups quietly touched each other as they made their toast.  After they had their celebration, Violet left Moira and Thomas alone again.  He held her and told her how much he loved her.  When her eyes were starting to droop, he picked her up and put her into the bed.  She stirred slightly before she dropped into sleep, mumbling “I love you” as she drifted off.

“I love you too,” Thomas kissed her on the lips then on the forehead, “I’m sorry I wasn’t here.”

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