She waited an additional ten minutes. Feeling nothing like she had that first day, Kelly left the museum. Tear filled eyes, forced her to drive much slower going home. Thoughts of Todd dying invaded every nook and cranny in her mind and she had all she could do to keep the wrenching tears at bay.
Having no idea what she would find when she entered the apartment, Kelly took a deep breath and tried to brace herself for the worst. Todd was lying on the bed. She bit her lip and walked to his side. “Honey…….” she said, her words barely audible. “Can you hear me?”
Todd opened his eyes. The look on Kelly’s face and her tear stained cheeks told the whole story. “It’s okay,” he said moving his hand to touch hers.
Kelly choked back the heavy tears fighting to break free. “I’m so sorry Todd. I tried and tried. I failed. Oh God I tried.” The dam burst. Kelly slumped to her knees. “I ….I…….I don’t know…..what….to do. Todd, I don’t know what to do.”
Todd managed to reach and stroke her hair. “It’s not your fault, Hon. Not your fault.”
Kelly clutched his hand in hers and kissed it. “It is my fault. I wrote the story. It’s my fault.” She got to her feet and ran from the room.
How could she ever forgive herself? Why had this happened to Todd? How could a fictional story come to be and destroy her whole life? They were questions that held no answers. Feeling drained and lightheaded, she staggered to the kitchen chair, sat down and buried her head in her arms.
Kelly awoke with a start. Forty-three minutes had passed since sitting down. She rushed to the bedroom. Todd was sleeping. She shivered at the sight. His body was crystallizing and it was now up to his chest. She could see the organs in his body still functioning. She averted her eyes and wondered why they hadn’t been affected, yet happy they weren’t because it would give her more time to try to find a solution.
She turned and spotted the open folder on her desk, the pages of the story left were Todd had been reading them. Kelly moved to the desk and picked up the pages thinking that if she destroyed them Todd would return to normal. She gripped the folder in her hands and began to tear them apart then stopped.
Something inside her told her not to do it. For a few minutes, Kelly battled with herself. On the one hand she hated the story because of what it had done and wanted to be rid of it; while on the other hand, she feared destroying it would obliterate her chances to save Todd. She dropped the folder on the desk and started pacing back and forth. What to do? What to do?
Kelly remembered the bottle of Hennessey and went into the kitchen. She had never needed a drink in her life but this was the exception. She needed something to take the edge off her tension. She snagged the bottle from the cupboard and without wasting time to get a glass, took a long pull. She took another swallow and placed the bottle on the counter.
It didn’t take long for the Hennessey to work its magic. Kelly moved to her desk and began writing. She believed she could change the outcome by writing an entirely different ending. As with so many other things involving the story, she knew she couldn’t revise what had already been written but could write something new.
Once totally focused, Kelly immersed herself into the story and wrote page after page. The biggest challenge was creating a reverse curse using the same made up language she had used to create the curse. When she finished, Kelly sat back and looked at what she had completed, wondering if the words she had penned would do the trick. It would have to do because she had no more left inside her to write. If the miracle was to happen, it would have to be with what she had.
She picked the papers up and brought them to the bed hoping Todd was still alive. She forced herself to look at his chest. She could see his heart still beating and breathed a sigh of relief. “Todd, can you hear me?”
Getting no response, she touched his shoulder. “Todd, I wrote a new ending to the story. You have to read it so it can reverse the spell. Please, Todd. Please open your eyes.”
Todd didn’t respond and Kelly had all she could do to keep from panicking. Instead, she climbed into bed next to his body so that her mouth was close to his ear and began reading the story. She had no way of knowing if it would work and worried what she would do if he were to die.
When Kelly finished reading, she waited and watched to see if any changes were taking place. Every second that went by seemed like an hour. She prayed with all her heart that whatever spirit or forces that had made the curse come true, would now have mercy and reverse it.
Each tick of the clock without showing any changes drained Kelly of her strength and her own will to live. Without Todd, her life would be meaningless. She would never be able to forgive herself and wished beyond all hope that if the curse would not be removed from Todd that it would overtake her.
Completely exhausted and her emotions sapped, Kelly closed her eyes and drifted into a deep sleep.
Somewhere in the distance, Kelly could hear voices and slowly opened her eyes. At first, she couldn’t see anything. She closed and opened them again and realized Todd was not next to her. She turned her head and spotted him sitting in a chair.
“Todd,” she said but no sound came out. Her mouth was dry so she worked her tongue to create some saliva. In a whispery voice she called out to him again. “Todd. Todd.”
Hearing a faint sound, Todd looked toward the bed and noticed Kelly’s eyes were open. He rushed to her side. “Kelly, can you hear me?”
“You’re not dead? You’re alive,” she said, attempting to reach out to him.
“Yes, yes,” Todd said, tears of joy leaking down his cheeks.
“The curse was reversed?” Kelly asked.
Todd looked at her strangely. “I don’t know anything about a curse except the one that has had you in a coma for the last six months. So yes, it has been reversed.”
It was Kelly’s turn to be confused. “Coma? What coma? What are you talking about? You were cursed and crystallizing and it was my fault.”
Again, Todd didn’t understand what she was referring to and squeezed her hand. “As you can see I’m not crystallizing. I’m okay and now you will be too.”
Todd lowered his head, kissed her lips then rang for the nurse.
March 20, 2014