just barely got the hack right in time to resume masquerading as her Snapchat
buddy from his phone.
^URSunPC&proud: so u think he’s cutee
More? Tommy had to fight to
keep his face like neutral and all. Just
in case she looked up. Meanwhile all he
could think about was what those big breasts would look like all uncovered and
WTFwasImogeneCoca: Effin cray cray.
Cray cray? Fucking cray cray could
be so hot. Tommy’s pants were getting
^URSunPC&proud: cray crayy
WTFwasImogeneCoca: Been so long.
Been so long? Since she got some? Couldn’t get any in the hospital? All pregs and shit? He’d fix that!
^URSunPC&proud: been so longg
WTFwasImogeneCoca: U know I never like did it & I never like
cudn’t remember cuz drunk or some effin thing except 1 nite & that was w/my
dad so I cudn’t be pregnant. Been so
long since my dad beat me. No
bruises. No loose teeth. No blood from that effin knife. U know I hate when boys touch me but been so
long since my dad beat me that that Tommy touched me & this effin cray cray
but it felt good.
Tommy looked up at her. Trying very hard not to cry, she looked like a puppy again. When she choked on a sob, her hospital gown fell down, exposing one breast. He was on her in a minute.
He gently pulled the gown up over her breast, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her on the top of her head, breathing in the sweet perfume of her. Still, he wasn’t like all gentle and tame. He was fucking furious. But not at her .
like couldn’t wait for that Blond Monster Tommy to return so she could Snapchat
^URS again. Except she was like so
effin’ grateful to him for lending her that tablet that she really shouldn’t
call him a monster anymore. Especially
since she’d meant what she’d told ^URS about him. She’d had to look at him a bit to like see
him in a different light and figure it out, but it was bible. Tommy was cute.
after seeing him leave with that nurse, looking all scared and shy and not even
able to look down at the Minecraft on his phone, Imogene wasn’t ready for the
next time she saw him. It like started
before she even saw him: She was looking
down at his timed-out tablet that she still had, trying to figure out what
other than “Minecraft” or “minecraft” his password could
felt his eyes on her.
up, she saw him coming at her with a big grin and sparkling eyes. “Type in ‘thisisnotapuppylove,’ all one
This is not a puppy love?But Imogene was so mesmerized
by how like intense his look was that her fingers froze.
an even bigger grin, Tommy was behind her in a heartbeat. He wrapped both arms around her, so he could
type it in.
could feel the muscles in his arms and chest dancing as he typed, along with
the warmth of his breath on the back of her neck. No one, except the medical peeps, had touched
her in a very long time. Caught by
surprise, she was startled to discover that it felt good.
Then he jerked himself away and fumbled for his phone.
Imogene like actually felt like slighted or some effin’ stupid thing…but then she remembered she was in now and signed into Snapchat.
The Storage Space didn’t even care when the ghost of that so-long-dead Shakespearean actor returned. Didn’t even care enough to ignore it and avoid it as it had done for so many tired years. Therefore, for the first time, it heard Edward’s thoughts. He was pining for her, the one both of them grieved, the greatest actress of them all who had fallen to her death so many years ago.
“And just why did she fall to her death?” the Storage Space queried harshly.
But in all those long years
only Karen, the one the Storage Space would still bestir itself to ignore, had
heard anything it had to say. The ghost
of Edward did not. Instead he kept
thinking of some letter that was written in Switzerland in 1898. And he directed his yearnings toward the
pregnant teenager that was now gone.
Because he knew.
the Storage Space watched the pregnant teenager’s father, still in Unit 38
sorting through those “data sticks.”
Frantic, he kept sticking one after another into a “laptop,” obviously
looking for something he wasn’t finding.
Each failure resulted in his punching a metal wall.
But the Storage Space didn’t care. It didn’t even care about the one both it and Edward had grieved all these long years. Even when it knew she had been reincarnated into the baby the pregnant teenager now carried.
No. At long last the Storage Space could only care about one thing: regret that it, along with its once-beloved tea room now gone, hadn’t been torn down long ago.
couldn’t fuckin’ fathom how he could be dead and still feel so much pain. Karen…
Elegant, fine, pure… Like his
grandma’s china he’d loved as a kid…but broken.
now he’d broken Karen too.
Fugettaboudit! He’d fuckin’ offed
not her body but…far worse!…her soul. He, Frank, a fuckin’ green mist of a ghost
whose body had been chainsawed into pieces and put out with the trash, was more
alive than this… This soulless
fresh-and-blood… This empty Karen still
breathing in the apartment of that silly Brit who’d actually managed to off
Frank when Frank, in a jealous rage, was trying to off him.
Marie. Karen’s best friend who’d started it all by
seducing him. But he now knew, as a
ghost who could go fuckin’ anywhere, that Marie had first given up her face and
identity, and then her life, to take care of Karen. Frank had tried to reach Karen’s soul,
softening her by telling her why Marie had seduced him as she retrieved
Martin’s key from under that rock, but she hadn’t heard anything except the
even when she did hear him clearly, all she had to say was, “Fuck
could he reach her? How could he bring
her back? Could he
bring her back?
his ghost’s 360-degree vision, he saw a grandmotherly ghost behind him shake
her green finger at him as she passed through Martin’s apartment on her way to
who-knows-where. Frank had never seen
her before, but he figured he knew why she’d shaken that finger at him.
what his grandma with the exquisite china would have done.
only known such language to begin with because her daughter, Frank’s mother,
had married “so far beneath her.”
Frank’s father was…fugettaboudit…a thug.
Frank had grown up caught between his mother’s elegance and his father’s
brutality. He’d thought his father’s
brutality had won…until he met Karen.
beheld her with his not only 360-degree but, at times, ubiquitous vision. She’d dozed off in Martin’s chair, still a
little weak despite her newly regained health.
Frank caressed her with his gaze, from every possible direction, then he
slipped gently into her dreams…
Dead. She no longer cared about
anything. She wasn’t even dreaming. He had to find something still living inside
her. Desperately, he tried to remember…
Her grandparents. What had
she always talked about? What had she
grandfather’s delight in the intricacies of the mechanical toys that had been
passed down to him from his own grandfather.
Karen showing him a small metal horse on wheels with almost all its
paint chipped off, gently turning in over and over in her hands, her face all
but exploding with her own delight.
searched her mind for that memory, but her mind was such a barren wasteland now
that it was as if all her memories had blown away like dust in a desert. He was consumed with despair. Karen.
How the fuck was he supposed to live without Karen? He wasn’t even alive anymore and he couldn’t
stand to be without the Karen that once was, but was no more.
gave up when slipping back out of her sleeping mind he stumbled haphazardly
upon the metal horse. It hadn’t been
there before. Like a lightbulb about to
go out forever, her memory of it flickered on and off.
focused all his attention on the horse, Karen’s grandfather, and all the
wonderful things she’d told him about him.
tried again. And again.
The words cut through Frank’s soul.
Karen said, aloud though talking in her sleep, “Fuck you!”