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He picked up the kettle of tea when it started whistling. He opened the cupboard. The red mug. The blue mug. He took the blue mug off the shelf, scowling at the other mug. Why was it still there? He slammed the cupboard door more forcefully than he intended.
He sat down to enjoy his tea. He did not think anymore. Whenever he thought, it was her face that came to his mind, so he simply stopped thinking. He was a machine, doing things that were routine to every day; void of thought. He sat down in his chair, picked up a newspaper. The words blurred and became a big black smudge in front of his eyes. He sighed, placing the newspaper back onto the table and sipping his tea. He looked out of the window to the cobblestone street and the shops that lined it. England, he prayed, get me through this.
He did not know how much time passed as he stared out of the window. Time was meaningless to him. He gave a start when a knock came to his door.
Who was visiting? He wondered. Samara? He nodded. It couldn’t be anyone else. It had to be Samara.
He rose, taking his tea with him. He undid the two locks methodically, and turned the knob.
Rachel stood on the other side.
He dropped his tea. There was a moment of complete silence as the mug sailed to the floor, then the silence shattered as the porcelain did. But Jacob didn’t care. For a moment, he was transfixed, unable to do anything but stare at what his love had become.
Her skin had an un-normal pallor, pallor that only came with what she had become. Her lips were as pale, barely showing against her skin. Her eyes had become far too huge for her face. They stared back at him, dark, indecipherable pools. She was beautiful in their evil, inhumane way. There was a slight discoloration under her left eye, he noticed. A bruise.
She smirked as the silence stretched. “Good afternoon, Jake.”
He didn’t respond.
She looked beyond him to his flat, an apartment she had once shared with him, one that had been their home. “May I come in?”
He managed to shake his head. He swallowed, bringing his nerves under control. “No. You may not.”
Her smile grew wider. “I need to speak with you.” Jacob stepped forward, closing the door behind him. “We can talk out here.”
She looked down as he gingerly stepped over the broken remains of his mug. “Aren’t you going to clean that up?”
“It’s none of your concern.” It took all of his strength to make his voice come out, form it into coherent words.
“You’re right.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “It isn’t.” Despite the harshness of the words, there was a trace of something wistful in her voice.
Jacob chose to ignore it. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m not coming back, Jake.” She whispered softly. “You have to know that. I’m not coming back.”
His hands clenched into fists. When he spoke, his voice came out as a hiss. “Why?”
“Why?” He looked up at her. “What do they have to offer you? What did they ever, ever give you that I did not?”
“Something to believe in.” she whispered.
He hooked a finger under her chin. “You can believe in me.”
She shook her head.
“Is this what they’ve given you?” He suddenly stepped forward, hooking a finger under her chin and touching his fingertip slightly to the bruise under her eye. For a moment, the only sound was their harsh breathing. “Is this what they’ve given you?”
Rachel was silent.
“It isn’t too late, Rachel. They haven’t completely taken you over. We can reverse the process. You can come back home.”
“No.” she whispered, her voice filled with sadness that ate at Jacob’s heart. “I can’t ever come back. I belong to them.”
“You don’t! You can come back!”
It was moments before she spoke. “I’m not so sure if I want to.”
Silence. Jacob let go of her hands.
“Oh.” He stepped back. “In that case, we have nothing to talk about.”
“I guess so.” She said softly.
He opened the door to his apartment and stepped in. Before he fully closed the door, he took one last look at her. Her arms crossed over her chest, dressed completely in black, her white-blond hair falling in wisps around her shoulders. He scowled as the door closed with an inaudible click.
He walked past the newspaper sitting on the table, past the empty picture frame that had once held a face of reverent beauty to him, past his small television and radio, to the kitchen. He opened the cupboard, then hesitated. He stood silently for a second, merely staring at the collection of cups and mugs.
Jacob suddenly reached out, pulling the red mug off the shelf and throwing it to the floor. It shattered into tiny pieces as it hit the ceramic floor. He stood over it, breathing hard, staring at the proof of what had been.
He scowled again.
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