Disclaimer: these characters belong to the WB and Jason Katims Productions
these characters belong to the WB and Jason Katims Productions
Summary: Valenti's about to pay for using Mrs. Evans to get information on the teens in a way no one could expect.
|"Why'd you do it?"
Blackness. Snapshots of a tight blond ponytail, dark eyes, and a beautiful tearstained face. Her voice comes through a deep tunnel. "How could you?"
A little fair-haired girl in a Sunday church dress runs in the park...gets caught up in her mother's arms and held close. Suddenly, that same girl, fully grown, is laying on an examining table. Naked, white in death. A line has been cut down the center of her slender body. Men in surgical masks and sickly green gowns pull her ribs apart and bury their hands in the red, wet, treasure of the cavity. They pull out her heart. Somewhere in the distance, her mother is sobbing.
"Is this what you want?"
There are two more tables with two more bodies--dark-haired males, subjected to the same treatment. They did not look like the girl in life, but in death, they are all subject to the same violation. The mother's sobs grow louder, louder than the sounds of the scalpels and the saws, but no one hears. A man in a white labcoat takes copious notes. Blood runs into a drain on the white tiled floor. Three sets of organs soon lie on sterile metal trays.
"Will this make you happy?"
The last image is a middle-aged blond woman. Deep circles ring her eyes and a rivulet of tears runs down both weathered cheeks. She rocks back and forth outside a stone gray building with guards at the door. She is unkempt and people pass her by with quick steps, thinking her a bag lady. She talks to herself just like one. "They were kids." she mumbles hoarsely. "They were always just my kids."
Blackness again. "Will this make you happy?"
Isabel Evans' cold, harsh, voice followed him when he opened his eyes and lurched out of bed with bile-choked gasps. It followed him when he slid across the thin carpet and scrambled for the handle on his bedroom door, when he ran towards Kyle's room. He slumped against the half-open door, trapped between panic and relief as he stared inside.
His son still slept, chest rising and falling evenly as he shifted under the blankets. The same undisturbed pattern that he'd had sixteen years ago, as a baby. He remembered holding the squalling, red-faced infant, still coated with the muck of birth, and knowing he held the best part of him and Michelle.
Innocence. Hope. The future.
*Scalpels cutting into soft but stiffening skin...blood, so much blood. Diane Evans' tears. "Will this make you happy?"*
Jim Valenti didn't move an inch. He didn't close his eyes, he didn't dare breathe until light streamed through the window and bathed his son in the golden haze of early morning. Finally, when he was absolutely certain that it was gold, not red--that Kyle was not suddenly a dissected cadaver--he lowered his face into his hands and wept.
"Oh, God," he whispered. "Oh, God, I'm sorry."
She stared out the window at the rising sun, a household safety tips pamphlet crumpled in one fist. She'd been up for hours, all ready dressed to the nines for school. If she listened carefully, she could hear the sleep breaths of her family throughout the house. Mom and Dad in their room. Max in his bed on the other side of the wall, just a few feet away, with Michael curled up in a sleeping bag on the floor.
Was the Sheriff crying? Was he sitting by Kyle's bedside, stroking down the hair that stuck up out of the sheets, and praying he never lost the miraculous fruit of his loins? Was he realizing that his precious hunt for the truth was nothing?
She hoped so.
If not, there were always worse things he could see, things that were all ready no doubt in his own mind. The safety was off. She would never let him hurt anyone she loved again. Even if it meant driving him crazy.
"Will this make you happy?"
Isabel saw her own icy smile reflected in the glass and she shivered.
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