So, for my final post this month (which will bring the number up to a grand total of 31 posts this month, meaning I average out to one post a day), I decided to write a short story on a prompt I’d been thinking about for nearly a month now: emails. I do realize the story isn’t exactly “realistic” and that such situations would not happen in “real life”, but I figured it was an emotional enough story that the “realistic” quality would be overlooked. Anyways, enjoy. 🙂
Her feeble, aged hands trembled as she moved the cursor over the send button. She counted to three in her head for luck, just like they’d always done, then pressed the button. The writing window closed and her electronic letter left her computer with a synthesized woosh. Sighing, the dying lady sat back in her hospital bed. Tears came to her eyes as the list of unreplied emails she’d sent filled her vision. She pushed the thought away. He had promised.
Detective Carley Hudson was busy sifting through the papers of the late Lord Hurley. The case was old. He had passed away twenty years ago at his desk, and the court had signed it off as a death by heart attack. A recent tip, however, had led the agency to believe that someone might have murdered him. The force had sent Carley to investigate possible links to their tip by examining his papers and files.
She threw down the large folder in disgust. “It’s an important case,” the dispatcher had told her. “Important case” indeed. Why dig up the past of someone who died twenty years ago? The Detective bit her lip as an unbidden thought entered her mind. It could not be because they wanted to get rid of her could it? Surely they valued her service.
The computer pinged. Carley turned with a start. Who would be emailing Hurley twenty years after he died? She opened the mail app and clicked on the recently received email. Her eyes widened as she saw the number of unread emails: 29,200. Every single one had been sent by someone called Nancy Lawrence. Absently, Carley began reading the email.
It has been a long time since we have had a conversation. Twenty years, now that I think about it. I don’t know what happened all that time ago, but I have kept up faithfully with our routine (I still count to three before I send each email). I won’t be able to send you the three other emails today. The doctors diagnosed me with lung cancer five months ago, and I’m at the end of the line now. I just wanted you to know that even though I don’t know what happened, I still love you, and I always have.
A lump formed in Carley’s throat as she read this. All this time, Nancy had kept up a loyal correspondence, even though she had received no reply. What kind of love would have led her to do this? Slowly Carley scrolled through the list of emails, catching a word here and there. The messages were simple and frank, detailing the different details of Nancy’s life. Never once did the aged woman mention the lack of response to her emails. Then the detective’s sharp eye caught the number one next to the drafts tab. Deftly she clicked over to it. The single message there had been edited twenty years ago, on the day of Lord Hurley’s death.
Tears welled up in Carley’s eyes as she felt the regret of a sick man in Hurley’s email, twenty years after he had written it. He had known he was sick for a long time, but had never said so, fearing that Nancy would worry unduly. Yet, though he knew death was close, he expressed not concern for himself, but concern for Nancy. The last word in the message was incomplete, “Jame”.
Swallowing past the lump in her throat, Carley hit “s” on the keyboard, put the cursor over the send, counted to three, and clicked.
Nancy’s eyes were failing, they wanted rest, but she forced herself to keep staring at the computer. Her vision blurred, but she still clung desperately onto a strand of hope. Then, unbelievably, her computer pinged. Her mind which had started wandering desperately, focused sharply, and she clicked on the received email.
Upon reading it, she smiled and leaned back into bed. He had promised someday they would be together. She closed her eyes. Now he was keeping his promise.