This story has been set to a rating of R. Age verification is required to proceed.
Home of Tina Kennard
New Bedford, MA
3:45am, Thursday, March 9th
She’d sat in the study area and shook down to her very core. By the time she’d returned to the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed next to Tina, who was still soundly asleep, she’d broken out in a cold sweat. But she didn’t wake her at first. Instead she watched the beautiful and serene expression on Tina’s face, lighted only by the dim glow of the computer monitors filtering into the dark room. Then she touched her cheek, spoke softly.
“Tina? Wake up, please.”
Tina was slow to open her eyes, and when she did, she smiled and reached out for her.
“I need you to wake up. I need to talk to you.”
The tone in Bette’s voice brought Tina to a sitting position, and she reached for the bedside lamp.
“No.” Bette stopped her hand. “Don’t turn on the light.”
Tina’s hand found its way to Bette’s face now, and she immediately pulled back.
“Darling, you’re clammy. Are you in pain? Let me get your medication.”
She started to get out of bed, but Bette stopped her once more.
“I don’t want any medication. I need to be clear headed.” She held Tina in her spot and added in a pained voice, “I need to talk to you.”
Tina grew still. “Okay. What about?”
They could see each other’s eyes, the outline of each other’s face, but expressions were difficult to read in the dim light. Nevertheless, Bette searched Tina’s face, as she took one of her hands.
Slowly, almost in a whisper, she said, “Tell me about Kathleen and Claire Campbell, your mother and sister.”
The names hung heavily in the silence, and Tina continued to hold stone still. Bette squeezed her hand and said, “Tell me, Tina. Tell me the truth.”
Tina seemed to deflate and sink within herself. “All right. I’ll tell you.” She swung her legs out of the bed and held her head. “May I at least stoke the fire? Firelight soothes me.”
“No. I want the explanation now.”
“Please, Bette. It isn’t easy for me to talk about. Please let me have the comfort of a little firelight.”
Bette nodded in the darkness, stood, and stepped away.