To Be With You Again. Maria de Luca
It wasn't fury that vitalised Hannah, it was loss, grief even – though heaven knows she shouldn't be the one grieving. But she couldn't bear him just carrying on without her.
The canal. That would do it. Owen always cycled too fast along the towpath. But if he had his backpack on, as full and heavy as usual, and if it was clipped into place around his chest, and if she timed it just right… then he was going into the water and he was going to sink. No coming back from that.
Worth a try, thought Hannah. And stepped out.
Owen, racing, his bag in danger of unbalancing him, wobbled. But a squeeze with the hand, a delicate touch on the rear brake, and he carried straight on.
Damn, she thought.
It was too dark, that was it. Dusk was not her friend. Maybe she should try in the morning. But no, there would be too many people around. Too many would-be rescuers.
The adrenalin rush of the canal-side falter briefly snapped Owen out of his bad mood. The change to his rhythm kept him on the right side of miserable for almost a mile. He'd begun to suspect he was going through some sort of death-wish phase. Just recently he'd found himself distracted whilst driving; he'd almost crashed, thinking he'd seen someone he knew at the side of the road. He had to keep it together.
Though a part of him asked, why?
Getting into the apartment had been harder than she expected. There were still traces of her time there, which saddened her but made her more determined than ever. Three in the morning was the hour of souls. She just had to keep out of the way until then.
Owen retired to bed early feeling troubled. Like there was something out of place in the apartment. He doubted that bed would be any more restful, but it was better than sitting up drinking, feeling sorry for himself.
It worked to perfection. After Owen finally drifted off in the early hours, Hannah lay down upon the bed. On 'her side'. Her presence, so physically insubstantial, disturbed him. He rolled towards her and opened his eyes. The shock worked a treat. His heart stopped. She'd done it.
His heart had stopped beating just like hers had six weeks before. Now Owen would be with her.
Come on then, thought Hannah, get up. Her restless spirit had arisen from her corpse straightaway. Why didn't Owen's?
And then as she looked at his lifeless body an awful thought occurred. What if his spirit wasn't going to join hers? What if she was an exception? Maybe he was just… dead?
Eternity would be unbearably lonely.
And it was going to last forever.