We have finally arrived at the end. After an intriguing journey, I put a close to this novel. It has been a fascinating experience to be sure, and I hope you have enjoyed traveling with me through this as much as I have enjoyed crafting the voyage. It is with intense satisfaction, yet a twinge of sadness that I end this novel. I apologize for the darkness of this story as a whole, but it was an experiment, a trip of discovery you could say, and I have learned many things. So, without further ado, I present to you Chapter 10 of Twist: Forgiveness. Enjoy. 🙂
Forgiveness, one of the numerous qualities that raises us above the common animal.
Charles and Elaina stood silently, looking through the one-way window where Katherine talked animatedly with a doctor. She looked– happy. Charles gave a satisfied smile and turned to Elaina. She smiled back.
“I’m glad you didn’t kill Katherine,” Elaina said, studying Katherine’s childlike behavior as the sanatorium doctor showed her multiple new objects of interest. Katherine had undergone an operation to remove the tumor that had developed in her brain, but this had caused severe amnesia, and now she was relearning all that she had forgotten.
“I’m sorry I even ‘ad to shoot ‘er,” Charles said gruffly.
“Well, at least she’s not dead. I hated her you know, but seeing her like this, the innocence in her manner, I realize that that wasn’t her back there. She’s not a monster. She was what we made her out to be.” There was a pause as both their minds travelled back in time, then Elaina said merrily, “Let’s talk about lighter topics.
“So, what do you think of your American citizenship?”
Charles grinned. “It sure feels good isal I’ll say.”
Nathaniel’s death had been reported as accidental, for both Charles and Elaina argued that since Katherine had not been in her right mind when she killed the detective, it was technically unintended. The bullet wound on Katherine was a little more difficult to explain away, and they had had to resort to some amount of deception. It had all turned out well however, and as the two new friends stood together in the sanatorium, they felt a peace that they had been completely devoid of previously.
The duo just stood there, basking in each other’s company, and in the silent space that followed, Charles reflected on how much he had changed. He used to be an unrefined person really, making whatever money he could, and living completely destitute of education. Now he was an American, living with an exceptionally kind guardian, and was slowly learning English.
But these were only the tangible differences. He had changed in so many more ways. Previously – though he had done a good job of hiding it, that much he could be satisfied in – he had been uncertain, fearful even. His past haunted him like his shadow, and he had never truly escaped from the harrowing incidents of his life. Now though, he was different. He felt confident, confident in the fact that he was not completely worthless, and that he was not the jinx to every situation. He had even started to look into the belief that caused people like Pastor Seth to journey into the wild depths of the Amazon.
Charles was plucked from his thoughts by a furrowing in Elaina’s brow.
“What’s wrong?” he asked worriedly.
She flashed him a reassuring quick smile. “Nothing really, I was just trying to figure out what Katherine meant by saying that you must fulfill the name of Agteroe.”
“Oh– uh–” Charles seemed rather embarrassed and ill at ease. “Agteroe is m’last name, and it means ‘Hero’. I guess, in some twisted sorttof sense, she connected our last names with their meanin’s to come up with a sort of dest’iny.” Eager to direct the attention away from himself, for he felt uncomfortable taking the limelight, even if it was in name only, Charles hurriedly posed a question without thinking.
“Why do you blame yerself for yer mother’s death?” Then, realizing what he had just said, Charles hastened to make amends. “Imean– If it’sa touchy subject, then I’d b’fine t’ignore it.”
Elaina turned away. She was quiet, for this question conjured up memories as unpleasant as those that had lately been created. Charles was chastising himself silently when she spoke, “I was driving.” She stopped, and Charles heard her take in a shaky breath. He could see that she was warring terribly with herself, so he took a step towards her, but something warned him back, and he waited patiently for her to continue. “My Mom was sitting beside me. I turned to her to say something.” Elaina spun around, tears streaking her face. “Then we crashed. And she got sent to the hospital, but she– she never recovered.” Elaina was sobbing now. “And me? I got out of it completely unscathed. Don’t you see? It’s all my fault….”
Her voice faltered, and burying her face in her hands, she collapsed to the floor. Charles stood for a moment, unsure of himself, then he stepped forward and helped Elaina back to her feet. Feeling even more embarrassed than he had before, he regretted bringing this topic up. Relentlessly he racked his mind for something to restore Elaina’s comfort with, but before he had even formed a complete thought, he found himself speaking.
“I feel that this’ole experience ‘as been a lessun on forgiveness. Us forgiving Katherine was a big step in the right direction, but I think also that w’need to learn to forgive ourselves.”
Another minute passed, and after a valiant effort on her part, Elaina’s sorrowful emotions slowly subsided. Looking up from staring at the floor, she said, “Thanks– Charles. I’m sorry about all this, but thank you. I really needed to get this off my chest, and sharing with you has really helped. I don’t think you realize the magnitude of what I’m feeling, but I really am grateful.”
Charles smiled inwardly. If only she knew. Merriment from the neighboring room caught their attention, and looking back through the window they saw Katherine laughing with the doctor at a joke he had made.
“At least I brought happiness to somebody,” Elaina said with a smile.
“Y’know,” Charles said slowly. “That’s how I feel too.”
“Really?” Elaina asked disbelievingly.
“You doubt me?” Charles questioned impishly, then he sobered. “Yes; exactly how I feel.”
A moment of silence followed. This was then broken by the appearance of an adult couple at the end of a hallway.
“Come on kids!” they called. “Time to go!”
Charles strode grinning towards his new parent and greeted her with a cheery ‘Hey Mom!’. Elaina, after wiping the tears from her face, rushed forward to her father.
“How’s my jewel?” he asked, smiling broadly at his daughter. “Recovered from the ridiculous trip I sent her on?”
Elaina smiled back. “Completely.”
The four turned and exited the building in pairs, both parents first, followed closely by the two teens.
Inside the doctor’s office in the sanatorium, Katherine was watching attentively as he explained to her how to open a bottle.
“You see here, you hold the bottle firmly in your left hand, then you grasp the lid like so, and turn it. Here, you try. All it needs is a twist.”
Katherine took the bottle from him. First she examined it from all sides, then imitating the doctor, she said softly, “All it needs is a twist.”
~ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life ~