AN: For those of you who are revisiting this after July 9th, 2011, this story has been edited and that includes the name of her sister changing from Penny to Lily. :) Carry on, my wayward children!
Leane knew that she was different. While everyone lived a full life, she only lived half. Her life was truncated by bouts of complete, all-consuming darkness.
She had asked her older sister why there was a black void between having lunch with her at her apartment, and lying in her own bed, waiting for her husband to come home. Her sister had reminded her that she'd experienced one of her frequent fainting episodes. Some lasted for hours, even days, and when she awoke, her mind would wander in a translucent state. She had this problem ever since she began school at age six, and over the years, she was forced accept it; a resignation, or a surrender, to her obscure condition.
Leane knew that she was a burden to carry. But didn't people understand that a heavier weight was pressing down on her shoulders? They couldn't understand the feeling of waiting for a fall to take her. Every day, the idea was suctioned to her skull, tugging her backwards, reminding her that she could drop at any moment. Would people catch her?Or call an ambulance? Would they think it too troublesome?
So she stopped seeing people; saw only her sister and her husband, and soon, her home became her four-walled world.
That was it, wasn't it? Her antisocial behaviour. Her anxiety. That was why he did it. That was why her husband strayed. She wasn't good enough for him. She wasn't perfect enough.
She imagined him banging a big-breasted beauty while she was unconscious and a burning sensation tore through her chest. She was beyond crying now. There was no use shedding tears over lying, insensitive men. She hated him. She despised him with a heat that she didn't know was inside her. She knew that it was more than the lies, the betrayal, but she couldn't be sure what it was.
Leane pulled herself off the beige sofa, resting her elbows on her knees. She glanced at the red clock on the wall, then at the door. He should be home soon, she assured herself, a hand dragging along the heavy, cold object on her lap.
Hearing the front door unlock, her head lifted and she stood.
Her husband entered, holding plastic bags in one hand, and his keys in the other. His back was to her as he struggled to lock the door, and without a sound, she lifted her arm and brought the gun up, level with his chest. "Hey, hon," he began. "I'm making your favourite tonight. You've been starving yourself for—"
Finally, he turned and his eyes widened in an instant. Leane felt a surge of pleasure rush through her veins.
"Hello, Harry," she greeted with unnerving calmness.
Harry's eyes shot to hers and he stared for a long time. "Leane," he said, more to himself than to her, and dropped his groceries.
"And the keys," she ordered. She wouldn't have him making a run for it. "Now take a seat." She gestured to the sofa chair opposite hers.
Harry closed his eyes and swallowed, obeying her.
"Leane," he began when he sat, stiff as a rock, "what's going on?"
Her hand tightened on the gun. She couldn't believe that he had the audacity to act innocent. Fishing into her jean pocket, she found what she was looking for and tossed it to him.
Harry stared down at his phone and blood slithered from his face. "Why did you have my phone?"
"I knew something was going on. I had to see if it was true," Leane explained. "So, who is she?"
"Elena," Leane voiced, loud and succinct, her stomach clenching.
Her husband's back crumpled and he dropped his head into his heads, despair marring his face. "No…"
"Yes," Leane spat, "I know about you two. I know that you've been contacting her ever since we met three years ago."
Harry still wouldn't look at her. He just shook his head into his palms, muttering the same word over and over: "No… no, no, no…"
"Shut up and look at me!"
He straightened, holding up his hands. "Look, Leane, you've got it all wrong, just… put the gun down," he pleaded.
She narrowed her eyes and remained motionless.
"Please… I'll talk, just… just put the gun down."
Slowly, she felt her arm lower itself to her side.
When he was sure that the gun was pointing in a safe direction and she was sitting down, he swallowed, his throat scorching dry. "Leane… you know that you're the only woman I love."
Anger barred her teeth, but before she could respond, he continued hastily, "Please, this is just a misunderstanding. I love you—"
"Don't feed me anymore lies. I've read the texts, Harry, I know." Leane pushed herself to her feet and strode over to him, shoving the gun to his forehead. She couldn't help herself, but her hands were shaking erratically, like electricity was charged through her body. "You've been lying to me for all these years so don't even think that I'm going to believe you now."
Harry's chest rose and fell in short, trembling breaths. "What are you going to do to me?"
Her lips curled. "What do you think I'm going to do?" she spat. "People like you don't deserve to live."
His hand reached for hers.
"Don't touch me!" she screeched, barely able to keep the barrel to his head.
"Why are you being like this, Leane? Can't we talk about this?"
"Never," she hissed.
A thick wave of pain washed over his eyes and for a moment, her arm lowered just an inch. But when his eyes met hers again after a heavy pause, she dragged it back up, grinding her teeth.
"Do you remember your parents?"
She was silenced for a moment.
"What are you talking about?" she demanded, her voice significantly higher. She hated how his eyes bore into hers, as if the gun wasn't there.
"You don't remember, do you?"
She blinked as blinding white burst into her mind, triggering something that crawled all over her skin. "What?" she whispered, half to herself.
"Shut up!" Harry winced as she dug the gun into him. The name injected a bitter sensation through her body. "Don't you ever say her name again, or I swear I'll shoot you between your eyes."
He tried again. "Leane, please, try to remember."
"Remember what?" she cried, her eyes beginning to burn.
"Do you remember your father? Do you remember what happened?"
Her breath became short, rapid like a metronome. "What are you talking about?" she hissed, tears slicing her cheeks.
"You have a scar on your back. How did you get it?"
She had a what? With quivering fingers, she reached under her shirt and as soon as she touched a twisted, rope-like texture on her lower back, her blood ran cold and the gun fell from her hand. "What's happening to me?"
Harry took her face in his hands and forced her eyes to him. "Leane. How did you get it?"
She was scared. The tears were stinging her, and her neck was on fire. "I—I don't know."
"Don't know, or don't remember?"
"What are you saying?" she screamed, struggling, but he held her tight.
"Leane, your father was having an affair—"
"No, my father is a good man. He's an engineer—"
"He was an engineer. He became a drunk and he had an affair. Listen. Listen!" Leane was shaking her head wildly. "Your mother, she caught him. He got angry and they had a fight. He got a chair, and he… and you…" Harry paused and so did she. She realised how tightly she was gripping his wrists. "You were in the way, and he hit you in the back." Harry swallowed. "You were six. That's why you're acting like this, Leane."
"Like what?" she whimpered.
He couldn't answer her. That was clear by the look in his eyes. It was so sad.
A shaky breath, heaved from her chest. Her head hurt. She didn't understand what he was telling her. She didn't understand how it was supposed to explain anything. And yet…
A sound caught her attention and her eyes snapped to the floor. She saw him trying to push the gun away with his foot and her chest turned to ice. She launched for the gun, but Harry grabbed her waist and they fell to the floor with a bruising thud.
Kicking her feet madly, she screamed, "Liar! You liar, just stop!"
"Stop saying her name! It's people like you…" she grunted as she stretched for the gun. "It's people like you who lie and manipulate, and it's people like me who will stop it." Her fingers closed around the now moist handle, and she twisted and aimed the gun at her husband's head. His grip subsided immediately and she crawled away from him.
Her nose was dripping and her vision warped, but she didn't care. She couldn't let him do this to her anymore. And although her finger felt like lead as she dragged it towards the trigger, she knew that she had to do it.
They were both silent for a very long time, breathing heavily.
"You're not going to change your mind," Harry said, his voice leaden, like a sigh.
Leane shook her head.
"I prayed for this day never to come… but I guess God had a different plan." He slowly pulled himself off the ground and sat down on the wooden floor in front of her. "But before you do it, I need to tell you something."
Tightening her grip, she warily gestured for him to continue.
"Soon, you're not going to remember this and you're going to be confused and hurt. But please… please try to remember something for me, okay?" He reached for her, but she backed away, more bewildered than ever before. Dropping his hand, Harry swallowed. "I want you to remember that I love you."
Leane shook her head. "Don't."
"Listen to me. Please, just somewhere… somewhere in your mind you just have to know that the last thing I ever said to you was that I love you. Okay?"
"I love you, Leane."
"I love you, Elena."
She pulled the trigger.
Elena opened her eyes at the sound of sirens careening through her ears. The first thing she saw was the beige material of her sofa. She uncurled herself and sat up, flinching as a sharp migraine squeezed her head.
"Elena? Is that you?" came a familiar voice.
Rubbing her eyes, Elena nodded.
She heard a squeak and felt her sister wrap her arms around her neck tightly.
Perplexed as to why her sister's voice sounded thick and overwhelmed, Elena asked, "Hey, what's wrong?"
When her sister released her, sure enough, she was in tears.
"Lily," Elena insisted, eyes searching. "You're scaring me, what's wrong?" Her eyes slid past her older sister and she saw a swarm of policemen and ambulance men murmuring incoherently around her living room. She made a move to stand, but Lily held her down.
"No," she said quickly.
Elena stared at her sister questioningly, her heart rate quickening.
"Honey…" Tears began to pool in Lily's eyes again. "Sweetie… it's Harry. He's—"
The two women turned to the police officer standing before them. Lily stood.
"Officer, now is not a good time."
"Ma'am, I would like to talk to this man's wife," the policeman informed my sister.
Lily lowered her voice. "Officer, I explained to you earlier…"
The man held up a hand and nodded. "I understand that, Mrs. Lorren. If I could just ask her a few questions—"
"But she wasn't here, she doesn't know anything."
Elena interjected, "I wasn't here?" She looked from her sister to the officer. "Where was I? For what?"
Lily looked like she was contemplating answering her, but she hastily turned to the policemen and began muttering something.
Elena stood up, her patience wearing thin. "Lily," she placated, before turning to the policeman. "I'll answer your questions, officer."
Lily regarded her with pursed lips and then nodded and stepped aside.
The policeman cleared his throat. "Elena, was it?" He glanced at Lily for confirmation. The woman nodded. "What was the last thing you remember your husband doing?"
Elena frowned. "Why?"
"It's okay, Elena," Lily murmured comfortingly.
"He was… he told me he was going out for groceries."
The man nodded and wrote this down. "And what did you do after that?"
"Officer—" Lily interrupted, but Elena spoke over her.
"I don't… I don't remember," she looked down at her jeans as she tried to recall. "I went to sleep? It's just blank, I… I think I fainted."
The officer's pen froze. "Fainted?"
"Uh, yes, it's a… I have a strange condition."
"Have you seen a doctor about it?"
"Yes, we have," Lily took hold of Elena's arm and pulled her close. "Is that all, officer?" Her voice was abnormally stern.
"One last question please, ma'am."
Elena eyed her sister curiously before nodding.
"Do you remember him saying anything strange? Anything… out of the ordinary?"
Again, she frowned. Where were these questions coming from? "No, I… the last thing I remember him saying to me was that he…" She rubbed her forehead in frustration. She could never think straight after a fall. "He said… yeah. He said he'd be back by seven o'clock."
After a discreet glance to Lily, the officer nodded, thanked her, and walked away, stealing a last glance in her direction before shaking his head.
Elena watched him go and her confusion multiplied. Had she done something wrong? And where was Harry? Why wasn't he with her?
"Hey," she caught her sister's attention, "where's Harry?"
To Elena's shock, Lily's face twisted and she shook her head rapidly, muddled words spilling from her lips.
"I can't… no, I can't…"
New fear settled in her and Elena grabbed Lily's shoulders. "Where is he?" There was no answer. "Where, Lily? Where is he? Where…"
She finally looked over to the crowd of people, over her sister's shoulder, through the gap between the legs of two paramedics.
Sound dimmed, instantly. The beating of her heart shook her whole body, consumed her ears, as she found herself edging closer and closer to the tumult. Something was wrong. Something was so, so wrong.
With sweaty palms, she nudged the two paramedics apart and at the sight before her, a strange retching noise ripped from her throat. She felt concerned glances from every direction, but she backed away from them.
She backed away until she hit a wall. Something was wrong. She wasn't screaming, she wasn't crying. There was a hand swirling in her head, twisting and pulling and prodding. She was going to fall. Her knees buckled. She slid down the wall. Her vision blurred as a circle of shouting people closed around her.
Then, everything stopped, just for a moment; a moment when she felt something solid press painfully into her hip. Her hand descended to her jean pocket and she pulled out a gun. A gun.
Horror. Confusion. And the worst thing: she knew this feeling. She knew, somewhere, what it was like to hold this gun, the weight in her hand, the metal in her palm. And she knew why.
Something white flashed in her eyes. Something was wrong. It was as if she had only just opened her eyes. She blinked, noticing the hands on her shoulders, voices calling someone's name. Was it hers?
Her eyes dropped to the object in her lap, and then to her husband's bloody body on the floor. And as she watched the red liquid seeping through their timber cracks, she remembered something. She remembered what he had told her before she shot him in the head.
She felt a horrible smile grow on her lips and she pressed the gun against her temple.
A/N: Yaaaay! That was fun (heh). Let's take a moment to congratulate the people who picked up the 'twist' (ish) early on in the story. :)
If you're still thinking 'What the hey did I just read?', then go to le trusty Google and type in 'dissociative identity disorder'. :) There you will find your answers, and perhaps you'll pick up the clues. And if you still don't get it, just pm me or ask me in a review. nudge nudge.
And I want to thank you for clicking on this story and reading it. I know it's probably not something you'd want to read when going onto this site, but hey! Thanks for sticking around!
If you're feeling generous and amazing and you want a virtual, just-out-of-heaven-and-unto-earth chocolate chip cookie, then dance over to the review button and CLICK! :D (please)
EDITED on July 9th, 2011, by the amazing Elizabeth.