Of Love and Death – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 20

book 1

Despite knowing the details of her business I chose to stand by her side in all things. I knew that I could not change who she was. Winnie was gone, but Mary Elizabeth was still herself. Behind the guns and violence she was still the woman that I loved. With me she was the same sweet person that she had been for all of her life before her parents corrupted her. I felt her true self. I saw it and loved it in spite of her work. But it wasn’t always easy to turn a blind eye. By their very nature rivalries where bloody and eventually business always meant death for someone. But I loved her. I loved her beyond my own comprehension. Beyond my own understanding of right or wrong or just or unjust. That’s why I never tried to stop her.

I watched as her organisation and her name grew to be so feared that we had to stay on the move at all times. We never stayed anywhere for more than a night, sometimes less. We were in a way a victim of her success. But she became more powerful and influential than her parent ever where. And that invisible gilded cage eventually became a cause of dread that she began to carry with her.

“Never leave me, James.”

“Never, M! I came far too far to ever leave you. You’re mine and I’m yours, forever.”

“I love you so much. All this money and I can’t settle down and give you children. We can’t enjoy it, James. And it’s my fault.”

“Nothing is your fault. You were born into this. And I was me who chose you with my eyes open.”

“Thanks for being mine.”

“Thank you for being you.”

Each night when we would lay ourselves down M would cling to me just a little tighter for just a little longer. I didn’t notice at first but after a few weeks she began to tremble in her sleep. She didn’t have peace in her life and in the madness that haunted her she had only my love to keep her. I knew that she needed to leave the business. I knew that she wouldn’t. And I knew that I couldn’t ask her to. So I waited for her to ask. I waited. And waited. But it never came. Instead, within months of my having become whole again my great love fell ill and was hospitalised. She was terrified of staying in one place for too long. And rightly so. Her enemies were many. But M was very intelligent and she checked herself in under a false name at a private clinic. She posted guards all over the building and in neighbouring buildings and paid all of her people triple in case any of them felt betrayal gnawing at their pockets. As she lay in bed, weak and pale, I stroked her hair and told her silly stories about the times we shared when I was still a dog. It brought her comfort and she laughed between the panicked pangs of fright.

“Ms. Parkes?”

“Doctor.”

“I have your results and the news is good. You do not have any infections or diseases. In fact, you do not have any illnesses that we can detect.”

“So what’s wrong with me?”

“You need rest, Ms. Parkes. Lots of rest. Are you in a position to take a vacation?”

“My work won’t allow it.”

“Then, as your doctor, I am telling you to change your work. If you continue like this then even conservative estimates would put you at dead within a year.”

“Fuck.”

“Shit.”

“Indeed.”

To be continued…

© Stephen Fahey

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