Frank 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.
And 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 name Marie.
Lately, even when she did hear him clearly, all she had to say was, “Fuck you!”
How could he reach her? How could he bring her back? Could he bring her back?
With 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.
It’s what his grandma with the exquisite china would have done.
He’d 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.
He 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. Dead. 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 showed him?
Her 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.
Frank 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.
He 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.
Frank focused all his attention on the horse, Karen’s grandfather, and all the wonderful things she’d told him about him.
Karen didn’t respond.
He tried again. And again.
Finally Karen responded.
The words cut through Frank’s soul.
Karen said, aloud though talking in her sleep, “Fuck you!”