Author: MaraJaded (aka Shona... *g*)
Disclaimer: Oh... wait. This actually is mine isn't it? (grins at naol for beating me to that particular joke...)
Total wordcount: 1,226/50,000
It’s funny, the things that go through your mind at a time like this. If Hollywood’s taught us anything then this is the time when all thought is supposed to stop. When everything freezes and all you can do is cry and wail about how this shouldn’t have happened. Maybe even start tearing your hair out or if that’s just veering too far into melodrama then at the very least collapse in a heap of tearful hysterics. You’re not supposed to think about the fact that the flat’s a mess, or that you probably just perforated the emergency operator’s eardrum when you dropped the phone.
You’re not supposed to notice that he hadn’t brushed his teeth yet this morning and that now you have the lingering aftertaste of the garlic bread he’d eaten last night which you’d picked up as you tried desperately to remember how to do CPR.
Or maybe there are no hard and fast rules. Maybe there’s no ‘supposed tos’ for something like this. After all this is not something everyone goes through. Come to think of it, this really is something no one should go through.
People shouldn’t die like this – they should go into hospital and just not come back out again, that’s what’s supposed to happen. People aren’t supposed to die in their own homes. They sure as hell aren’t supposed to be shot dead in their kitchen. The whole death thing should be detached – impersonal. People shouldn’t die like this. They just shouldn’t.
Brogan knew she was kidding herself, but hell if she believed it hard enough then maybe none of this had happened. Maybe she’d wake up and find it had all been some kind of nightmare. She closed her eyes, wishing, hoping, but through the thin red haze of her eyelids she could still see the strobing lights of the ambulance and the police cars outside painting the walls with random streaks of blue.
She’d thought he was kidding around at first, he’d always had a sick sense of humour – something they had in common – and when she’d first walked in to see him on the floor with what she’d thought was fake blood on him she’d actually stepped over him and begun to fill the coffee maker. It was only when he spoke her name and she looked down into his eyes that she realised it was no joke.
As she’d knelt at his side he’d tried to speak, tried to tell her something, but she hadn’t listened, she’d been too focused on checking him over and getting to the phone, getting help. It had been while she’d been talking to the operator that Michael had reached for her hand and pulled her towards him. She’d dropped the phone and been a little amazed it hadn’t shattered with the amount of noise it had made as it had hit the floor. He’d pulled himself up with great difficulty, ignoring her pleas for him to lie back, wait for help. He’d tried once more to speak but the effort had quickly given way to a series of racking coughs and she had tried to pull away as she saw the blood in his mouth. He’d held on tightly to her arm, not letting her move, and had whispered something. One word, it meant nothing to her but, as he dropped away, she had realised that to him it had been worth dying for.
She opened her eyes, willing the lights away, and looked down. It hadn’t been a dream. The flashing lights were still colouring everything blue and the dead weight in her lap was… well, a dead weight. Michael’s head rested there, but his eyes were empty – staring into eternity perhaps, or more likely just staring into nothing. They say that the eyes of a murdered man hold the image of his killer but as Brogan stared into Michael’s all she could see was herself reflected back.
She didn’t really want to think about what that might mean.
She could fell someone standing beside her, doing the whole trying to get her attention without being so crass as to say something act. She ignored him, he’d get the message soon enough, surely. He didn’t move.
What was it you were supposed to do right now, was it the whole weeping and wailing act? Was it making sure the dead person’s hair was how they normally wore It and that they were presentable? She wasn’t sure, and right at that moment she really didn’t care. None of it mattered, it was all just an act.
Right now all she knew was the heavy weight in her arms, the coppery smell of blood and sulphur in the air, the taste of day old garlic in her mouth, the cramp in her legs.
She stood slowly, letting the weight slide to the floor, not wincing as Michael’s head hit the ground with a thud – it wasn’t as if he was going to complain about it after all, not now – instead she winced as she saw the blood covering her clothes. It was going to be hell getting that out without leaving a mark. She frowned a little as she realised how insensitive she sounded inside her own head. Was this normal?
She staggered a little as she stood and her legs struggled to support her after so long out of action. A hand on her arm steadied her and she turned to see who was there. The man who’d been behind her while she knelt there, the man who hadn’t known quite how to get her attention, the man who hadn’t taken the hint, the man who was wearing a hat with a checkerboard band around it. She frowned at him, no one had any manners any more – wasn’t there this unspoken rule that men should take their hat off indoors? Of course, no one wore hats any more unless they were in uniform or in fancy dress or something. Maybe the point was moot.
He was talking at her, she got the impression it was a rehearsed speech that was supposed to be comforting and if she’d actually heard any of the words then maybe it would have been. She couldn’t hear him though, the buzzing in her ears was too loud and there were too many things competing for her attention. She looked around the room at the little isolated flurries of activity. As soon as she’d moved away the people in odd white zip up jumpsuits had descended on Michael like they were some kind of albino vultures. She was starting to feel a little dazed. She should really clean up a little, these people must think they lived in a pigsty! Her breath caught in her throat. There was no ‘they’ any more. Not now.
She turned her head suddenly as the enormity of what was happening hit her; she didn’t want to see anymore, didn’t want to acknowledge what was going on. As she turned she caught sight of the artificially worried expression on the policeman’s face. Sutherland, that was his name, P.C. Sutherland. She grasped onto that one piece of information as she gradually became aware that she couldn’t breathe properly. She saw him reach for her and she briefly wondered why before everything became black and she slumped to the ground unconscious.