by Olivia K. Goode
O, learn to read what silent love hath writ,
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 23
Catherine pushed against the massive glass and mahogany door and held it open so that Vincent could carry Stephen into the house.
She looked blankly back at him, confusion on her face. Surely entering this house isn’t like entering my apartment?
“His injuries will be hard enough to explain out here. In the house … impossible.”
“You’re right,” she acceded as he set Stephen on the front porch. “I’ll find a phone ... call 911.”
As Vincent applied pressure, he gratefully observed that the stomach wounds that he had just inflicted were not as bad as they could have been. Catherine’s timely intervention had prevented him from killing yet again. Yet again.
Yet again, she doubted me, Vincent stared forlornly to the stars wheeling above him. She said that she valued my words above all others, and yet … yet again, she did not listen … did not trust. Catherine! Part of you was crying out for my help! Yet why were you so unable to accept it?!
His shoulders sagged under the weight of this query. Looking down, he saw his own hands pressing against the flesh of Stephen Bass. These bloody claws, mere minutes ago, caused these self same wounds that they now strive to hold closed. How could she trust the animal that owns such hands over the man she knew for years?
Catherine returned to the foyer, pausing by the foot of the elegant staircase. Stephen’s unconscious face was turned toward her, dimly lit by the porch lights. I thought he’d changed. I thought …
She caught sight of herself in the cut-glass sidelights surrounding the door: a reflection of the blood on her blouse, the bruises forming already on her forehead where Stephen had hit her with the bit of broken lamp. Her hand went instinctively to her throat where he had choked her while he ranted about making things like they were before.
You have to keep reminding yourself what he did to you, even after the bruises fade. Her own words to Marcie O’Neil echoed in her mind. Her husband swore he was different, and she believed him. I wondered how Marcie could trust him enough to fall under his abuse again … She didn’t listen to me. Am I any different? I believed Stephen, and I didn’t trust Vincent. I didn’t listen to him when he told me of his fears.
The many facets of the sidelights reflected her image to her uncounted times. How could I have been so blind?
Catherine stepped onto the sprawling porch, her hand reaching out to touch Vincent’s shoulder.
He raised his head, cocking an ear in the direction of the winding driveway. “They’re coming. I hear the sirens.” He looked back over his shoulder at her. “Apply pressure to the wounds until they get here.”
“Vincent,” she began, kneeling in his place as he stood.
“Catherine.” He arrested her with her name. Their eyes fixed upon each other until he stepped backwards, vanishing mutely into the dark.
Volumes unvoiced, each was left choking on all the words they could not speak.