“We were able to get to you before you bled out. We heard the shots and the screaming, we came in expecting the worse. Turns out she was the only casualty.”
That was all the further we could communicate before the doctor was in the room and tending to me. My mother was clinging to my side and weeping, and my father looked positively relieved, although there were shards of anger and hurt in their eyes that I knew might never go away. I only hoped that they would accept my apologies, or at least understand why I had to do it.
My recovery wasn’t quick. It took a few months before I could really talk again, the flesh coming back together slowly and painfully. But eventually life returned to normal and I was able to go back to my home.
And so a year passed.
It was on the anniversary that Todd came back to see me. I guess I had been wondering if he would – you know, he and I still aren’t close, although I think he’s changed the way he looks at me.
When he came back to me, he had questions, as I knew he would.
“How did you know it would work?” He asked.
“I didn’t,” I answered. When that didn’t satisfy him, I said, “She wanted me to come back to her. When I tried to sacrifice myself, she knew that she’d really lost me. There was no point to her plan anymore.”
“Why didn’t you just stall for time? We could have…”
“No, you couldn’t have,” I cut him off. “If you had come in, she would have killed that child. You and I both know that. There was no other choice.”
“You’d sacrifice yourself for that kid?”
The answer to that was obvious, so he continued.
“Because… because I had a hand in making Taylor what she was. When she told me about her dreams of revenge, I should have told somebody. I should have done something. But I didn’t, and that means that I’m no better than the rest of you. I had to pay for my sins.”
For a long time, Todd didn’t say anything. We sat in my kitchen, drinking coffee, thinking about the past and the future and the strange turning of the world in between.
And then he asked me something I never expected.
“Do you think it’s over?”
There was a long pause as I stared at him, wondering. And then I answered.
“I don’t know.”