Jane’s discharge was absolute. She was better now, healed, a beacon of light to the other residents who still had time to serve. No longer on section, Jane was free to go. No more visits by the psychiatric team. No more case reviews, no more anything in connection with the white coat brigade. She was released without ceremony, to go on her way wherever she saw fit. She was no longer their concern. Jane walked away from the centre. She did not turn and look back. She had things to do, places to go and people to see. Time spent incarcerated delays living. As the doors closed behind her she walked forward with an air of quietude . She knew that she would catch up with everything in the end, and that all would be okay or at least okay in her world.
In contrast to her exit, Jane had not arrived at the centre quite so quietly, which was more a hospital really, and the residents in truth patients. On arrival at the centre some 24 months or so ago or something like that, she had screamed like a barking mad banshee, and struggled with the nurses who were just guards in disguise with a bit of nurse training thrown in for good measure. She would not make it easy for them, her captors but would fight them with all the fight within her until they were willing to listen. Days, weeks, months, and finally two years passed. Jane learnt how to play the game, and now she was free to go.
Dick had dropped Ella at Nursery, and had returned home. Work could wait. He had more important things to do today, rather than go to the office to work on the new accounts. The accounts could wait, there was something else that could n’t. Arriving home, he noted that the gate was closed. Knowing he had left it open earlier, and also knowing that the Postman also always left it open, he was a little on his guard, though not afraid. After all this was Jane, his Jane. He had been expecting her, though he had thought he may be home before her.
He opened the door slowly, and as quietly as he could. Walking into the hall he could smell the unmistakeable heavy scent of Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium, Jane’s signature scent; it was heady just like her. The door to the kitchen was open, not wide open, just open a few inches, and not quite enough to see into the room. He hesitated for a moment, then went into the kitchen but there was no-one there. He was a little surprised as he was sure she would be sitting at the table waiting for him. It was what she did or at least what she used to do when she wanted to confront him with something, nothing and anything. It was just her way. He wondered if she had learned her lesson. After all, that had been the point of this last two years.
He walked back out into the hall, stood at the bottom of the stairs, and called out ‘Jane’ .
No reply. Nothing. Just silence, and that perfume. That smell took him back to that first meeting with Jane, back to the beginning.
Where was Jane? She had clearly been here. There was no mistaking that but where was she now? He was both puzzled and even a little perturbed, annoyed even. Predictable Jane was being unpredictable. Dick hated unpredictability. Jane would have to answer for that. Just wait until he caught up with her. He knew he should have gone to collect her and bring her home himself. She could never be trusted to get things right. Back in the kitchen Dick clenched his fists, and punched both down hard on the table. Being solid Oak the table withstood the attack. Dick’s knuckles did not. Dick sat down at the table, looked down at his bloodied throbbing hands. This was not quite the reunion he had imagined for so many months.
Dick looked up at the large clock which hung on the wall on the other side of the table. It was coming up to 2.30pm. Had he really been sitting there for all this time. Taking a deep breath, Dick stood up, he stretched out his fingers. The blood had dried. His hands hurt but nothing broken, not any bones anyway. He needed to pull himself together. Ella finished Nursery in half an hour and he must be on time. He was always on time. Turning the tap on, the water ran cold as he rubbed the blood from his hands. He watched as the now diluted blood washed away down the plug hole. He dried his hands, checked them once more for stains and getting his things together, he went out the front door to get in his car to go fetch Ella. Had he locked the front door. He was unsure, so went back and checked again, and again, and again, his OCD resurfacing from somewhere past, until he had satisfied himself that the door was indeed locked.
© Liola Lee 2018
This was a writing exercise set by Stephen King in his book ‘On Writing’. Whether he would think I had hit the mark or not is not up for debate. I have still to finish his book. This I plan to do this year along with the others I have started but not yet completed. That said, this could be the start of a story maybe?