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Spooky Tale: Haunted Smile
His photograph slipped through her cold, shaking fingers and she slipped silently off the icy windowsill to reach for it, but her fingers refused to grasp. She crouched in the dark, his face still etched into her mind.
It was three days since the accident.
She swallowed her sobs, his face still smiled up at her from the floor, and she touched a silver chain at her neck, all she had left. She traced his smile and moved her finger to draw a heart across the image. “I love you,” she whispered, the sound barely leaving her lips.
She remembered the collision.
Screeching tyres, thunder, blue lights, sirens, shouting, banging, a limp body in the driver’s seat, pain, scarlet vision, panic, numbness and fear, but she’d escaped, no idea how, but she was out of the car and screaming amid crumpled metal.
Yellow-jacketed policemen, twisted lamppost protruding from the bonnet reminiscent of Salvador Dali, a paramedic leaning through the splintered windscreen, bloodied fingers working on the body, his body, more shouting and noise. The medic shook his head and crimson hands dropped at his side.
Glass, memories evoked glass, shattered – like the shards that remained of her heart.
Now, the photo fluttered across the floor in the moonlight and landed upside-down and he was gone. She fell beside it, staring at the white square.
The door opened. A man, tear-stained and greying, trod wearily into the darkened room and she hardly dared breathe. He straightened messed-up bedclothes, closed an open book on the table, his face cracked as he leafed through a notebook and fresh tears appeared. He stood and slipped his hands into his pockets. She opened her mouth to speak as he looked right at her, but no words formed.
He was silent for an age then opened his mouth and spoke in a whisper, “My son.”
She nodded, his grief engulfing and matching her own, and she spoke, “I love him.”
He mutely sank beside her. She placed her hand on the overturned photograph, and his father laid his over hers. His fingers turned the picture so his son’s image smiled out once more and inconsolable tears streamed down his face.
Colour drained as she stared at her hand still flat on the floor, and the old man rocked in his grief. She placed her hand on his shoulder, felt nothing, and flinched as her fingers laced through the fibres of his cotton shirt.
Startled, she fell back, her heart pounding, and she recalled the crash scene once more. There hadn’t been one paramedic, there’d been two and the anguish felt by one was shared as the other left the passenger side, bloody-handed but empty.
A waft of air caught her and outside she saw the smile from the photograph, and this time she moved as he called, glass not barring her way as she moved out into the night to join her love. Her silver pendant chinked as it dropped from her neck to the floor.