Placing Jerome back into his crib, and tucking him in for the last time, tears blurred his vision. Wondering where Fine was, he left the boy’s room in search of her. He searched for her in the kitchen and the larder, then the bedroom. Her crumpled body lay on the floor near the bed, like a discarded doll. Staring at her body in horror, he would not believe she was gone.
Tears blighted his vision as he stood in the doorway, unable to move forward to her. His breathing labored; he sucked in air, but it did not end the burning in his chest. His world shattered before him. He screamed. It whispered something, but he could not comprehend its words. How could he pretend to want to go on? She was his life and his light. Molten tears seared his face.
Finally, he loosened himself from the threshold, and slowly approached her. He stumbled, and fell to his knees next to her crumpled body. His howls echoed through the rooms of their home.
He did not want to accept that she was dead. He did not want to live life with her as a fading memory. He did not want to forget her face, her smile, and her love. The way she touched his hand would never happen again. He would never again see the twinkle in her eyes when she smiled.
His hand recoiled at his first attempt to touch her. He did not want to confirm the truth. His trembling hand first touched her shoulder, and received no response or warmth from her. He pulled the hair that veiled her face away softly, smoothing it behind her ear. His eyes blurred; he still did not want to believe.
How long have I been hiding from them, he wondered. A few days? A month?
He couldn’t recall the passage of time and his body quaked with anguish. He forced himself to see her face, and rolled her from her side; wisps of hair fell back across her face, lacing into the lashes of her open, unseeing eyes. The putrid smell of her rotting flesh caused his stomach to upturn bile in his mouth. He pulled her into his arms, and cradled her. His screams and wails would surely alert the neighbors, though no one came to check on him. He held her close for a few moments before laying her back on the floor.
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