Cary stared at Audrey as she slept. Her long blonde hair draped over her fair pale skin. Her eyes opened as she realized that he was watching her sleep.
“Good morning,” Cary said.
“Good morning, my love. Couldn’t find anything else interesting to stare at?”
“Nothing as beautiful as you,” he said.
“You are a complete sap,” she said with a laugh.
“You made me this way,” he said as he went into the bathroom.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” she said as she tied her hair into a ponytail.
“Audrey, do you know where my meds went to?”
“The important ones. The ones for my condition.”
“Didn’t you stop taking them because they were making your hands twitch nervously?” Audrey asked.
“I did? They must be affecting my memory, too.”
“I think they were. You promised me you wouldn’t take them anymore,” Audrey said.
“I don’t want to have any episodes, especially since I have the presentation at work coming up.”
“Your meds turn you into a mindless drone. I hate it when you are on them.”
“Audrey, do you want me to start hearing voices again? Seeing things that aren’t there?”
“Schizophrenia isn’t something I can just turn off you know.”
“Do you have to go to work today? I get lonely here all by myself,” Audrey said as she changed into a red dress with white flowers.
“Can’t make money if I stay home,” he shouted as he turned the shower on.
Audrey sat down on the bed and stared at the bathroom door. She felt guilty. She was the one that had gotten rid of his meds. He was a more passionate person when he wasn’t on them. On them, he was as passionate as a statue. She walked over to her bookcase and grabbed a stack of paranormal romance novels. They would have to keep her occupied while Cary was at work.
Cary sat in his cubicle at work shifting through the papers on his desk. His presentation to the board of directors was coming up in a few minutes. Gregory, his colleague sitting in the cubicle next to his, walked over to him.
“Are you all set for the presentation?” Gregory asked.
“I’m as prepared as I’m going to be. If the board likes the presentation, I can use the marketing for our clients.”
“I was wondering if you and Audrey would like to have dinner sometime with me and Katherine,” Gregory asked.
“You know Audrey doesn’t like to leave the house because of her agoraphobia,” Cary said.
“What a shame. I would really like to meet her. You don’t even have any pictures of her,” Gregory said.
“She won’t let me take any pictures of her,” Cary said. “I got to go.”
Audrey put her novel down as Cary walked into the house. “How did it go?”
“They liked the presentation. If everything works out with the clients, there could be a promotion in my future.”
“That’s great news honey.”
“Finished another novel today?”
“You’ll probably have to go to the bookstore and buy me some more romance novels to read this weekend,” Audrey said.
“You do read a lot.”
“It’s better than watching television. I can’t stand all those court shows they show constantly during the day,” Audrey said.
“They’re staged,” Cary said.
“Exactly,” Audrey said with a small laugh.
“Gregory wants us to go out to dinner with him and his wife,” Cary said as he took off his blue tie.
She stared at the front door for a minute and then looked at him. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t like the outside.”
“You can’t stay locked away out of sight forever.”
“Sure I can. I have you to bring me everything I need.”
“Aren’t you curious about the world?” Cary asked.
“I remember back when I was forced to go outside. I didn’t like what I saw. I’d rather explore the world via the internet and my books.”
“I guess I’ll never be able to convince you.”
“Never,” she said and stared at the door again.
“I guess a celebratory dinner is out of the question?”
Audrey jumped off the couch and gave him a big hug. “We can order a pizza to celebrate.”
“Ok, pizza it is,” Cary said and grabbed his cellphone.
Later on that night, Audrey was in bed reading a book while Cary was in the bathroom. She could hear him in there talking to himself, carrying on a long conversation. She looked over at their nightstand and his cellphone was sitting on top.
“Honey, who are you talking to?”
“Cary, is everything ok?”
The door to the bathroom opened and Cary stood there in his green bathrobe with a confused look on his face.
“Cary, you look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Audrey said concerned.
He looked at her in a complete daze. After a few minutes, he managed to say, “I was talking to you. You were taking a shower. How did you get out here?”
“I was here the whole time reading my book.”
“Then who is in there taking a shower right now?”
Audrey got up from the bed and walked into the shower. “The shower is off. There’s nobody in there.”
“I need my meds. Where are my meds?” Cary asked almost in a panic. He quickly opened the nightstand drawers and threw everything inside onto the floor.
“They’re not there,” Audrey said.
“She threw them out,” an elderly woman wearing a faded blue nightgown said.
“Mom, what are you doing here? You’re dead.”
“Am I, sweetie. I told you not to hook up with her. She’s the worst of the worst. You’re not mentally sane enough to see her for what she really is.”
“I love her mother,” Cary said.
“Cary, your mother isn’t here. It’s just you and me,” Audrey said.
“She’s standing right here,” Cary said looking at Audrey. When he turned around, his mother was gone. He stared at the spot where she had been standing for several minutes, hoping that she would reappear.
“Maybe you need to get some sleep. Let your mind reset,” Audrey said.
“Maybe you’re right. Today was a very exciting day. My mind is just tired. That’s it. Tired,” he said, trying to convince himself that he didn’t just see his dead mother right before his eyes.
“Sleep, my dear, sleep,” Audrey said softly into his right ear. “You just need some sleep. Come lie next to me and sleep.”
“Sleep. Not a bad idea,” Cary said and slowly got into the bed. “That’s all I need.”
That morning Cary awoke. His mind was a lot clearer. He climbed out of bed and headed for the kitchen to fry himself some bacon. Sitting at the kitchen table was his mother.
“Mom, what are you doing here?” Cary asked.
“Can’t an old woman spend some quality time with her son?”
“Not when she’s dead.”
“If you’re seeing me, I must not be dead.”
“Keep it down. I don’t want to wake up Audrey,” Cary said, sitting down next to her.
“You do know she threw away your meds,” she said.
“Why would she do that?”
“She thinks she’s helping you, protecting you.”
“That’s the question, my son.”
“She would never harm me.”
“You know you need those meds. You are seeing people that aren’t really there. Take me for instance. I’m worm food and you’re having an intimate one-on-one conversation with me,” his mom said, laughing.
“Honey, who are you talking to?” Audrey asked as she walked into the kitchen. “Your mother again? Hello Judith.”
“I’ve never liked her,” Judith said.
“You’ve never really met,” Cary said.
“Are you sure?” Judith asked.
“What do you mean?” Cary asked.
“I’m right here,” Audrey said, clearing her throat.
“Sorry, we didn’t mean…” Cary started to say.
Judith was no longer sitting at the table.
“I have to get going,” Cary said quickly standing up.
“Go where. Today’s your day off.”
“I have to go to the pharmacy and get my meds,” Cary said.
“Wait, please don’t go,” Audrey pleaded.
“I’m seeing people that aren’t there and it’s getting worse,” Cary said, his hands shaking.
“Look at your hands! They are shaking violently! You are in no physical condition to get behind the wheel!”
“Don’t listen to her, son. She’s tricking you,” an old man wearing faded denim overalls said.
“Dad,” Cary said as tears streamed down his cheeks.
“Listen to your father,” his mother said.
“Make it stop! Make it stop!” Cary screamed. He put his hands over his ears, trying to make the voices of his parents stop. He ran for the bedroom to get his keys.
“Cary, don’t go. You’re in no condition to drive,” Audrey pleaded.
“Son, don’t listen to her. She’s tricking you,” his mother said.
He grabbed his keys and headed for the front door. Audrey stood in front of the door.
“Please, get out of my way.”
“No, my love. I can’t let you go,” Audrey said, tears forming in her eyes.
He pushed her out of the way and walked out of the house. She stared at the opened door. She slowly walked toward it. The outside air felt heavy on her chest. She took a deep breath and did something she thought she could never do; she walked outside. She ran toward Cary’s car and pounded on the window. He looked at her in shock. He unlocked the passenger door, and she quickly got in.
“You’re outside the house,” he said in shock.
“If you have to go get your meds, then I’m coming with you,” Audrey said.
With trembling hands, he turned the key.
Cary snapped awake. He looked around him. His car was sideways on the highway with a semi-truck pulled over to the side. His car was badly damaged and an ambulance was parked to the side. Paramedics were attending to somebody on the street. He ran over to the paramedics. Audrey was in trouble. He didn’t remember getting into a wreck. He didn’t remember anything after leaving his house this morning. As he reached the paramedics, he stood in shock as he stared at the body lying in a pool of blood. The body wasn’t Audrey’s; it was his.
“Joan, stop. He lost too much blood. He’s dead,” the other paramedic said.
“What the hell,” Cary said in shock.
“I tried to tell you that you weren’t in any condition to drive,” Audrey said.
“I killed us both,” Cary said.
“Not exactly true,” Audrey said.
He looked at her.
“You killed yourself. I’ve been dead for over a hundred years.”
“I’ve been dead for over a hundred years. You were the first person that could see me, interact with me. I was haunting that bookstore for years, taking books to read. You walked right past me and said…”
“That’s an excellent book,” Cary finished.
“When I asked can you see me?”
“I said how can somebody not see someone as beautiful as you,” he finished.
“The rest is history. That’s the reason I threw out your meds. When you were taking them, you couldn’t see me anymore. I didn’t want to lose the love of my life again.”
“Now that I’m dead, now what?”
“We can be together forever. I am no longer bound to that prison we called a home. We can go anywhere together,” Audrey said and took his hands in hers.
“Anywhere?” Cary asked.
“Lead the way,” Audrey said as they walked away from the crash site holding hands.