Forever Attached

Everything thinks that Rory McMillan is mad. But Rory knows the truth. He knew what happened that summer at his Aunt and Uncle's house. He knows the truth about the shadows. He knows about the Empty Woman, who stalks him during every waking and sleeping moment. And who stalks us all.
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1. Prologue

The boy sat upright on the bed sheets. He traced the skirting of his cloth pjammas carefully, trying not to pay too much attention to the man who was sitting in the armchair beside his bed. He studied the minute stiching on the hemming, and inspected each dulled thread with care and precision: he did not want to face the world beyound the bed, that sickened him and rebuffed him. So he continued his deft practice. Absent-mindedly, the man turned a cloth-bound book in his hands and crossed his legs for the second time that minute. His name was Dr. Elton and his complexion, unlike the boy's, was colourful; his eyes slightly slanted with a drooping sort of age; his mouth curled somewhat at the mouth; his head and features chiselled into strikingly symmetrical rectangles. The boy who sat on the bed was worn: his body showed lines and indentations from a draining loss of weight and colour, his eyelids were low and grey and his cropped blonde hair stretched and clipped back into an unhealthy attempt at making him look clean-cut. The boy was encased by something both stifling and ominous. He was encased by shadows.

The boy remained still. "Ever read this book, Rory?" The man held up the book, showing the golden embossed title to the boy. "It's called "Great Expectations". It's very good, I read it when I was about your age. I think you'd like it." The boy didn't stir and he continued to focus his attentions on the fraying edges of his trouser. The boy studied the words that lingered in the air, and revoked all: this was his choice. But, just this once, the boy sampled a morsel of the sentence and it resonated around the wall of his mind. The words that next came out of his mouth were unexpected to both him and the man. "Thanks, but I don't like Dickens." The man chuckled softly and took off his round-rimmed glasses to clean the lenses.

"Ah, well. At least we know that you're no longer non-responsive." Dr. Elton said and kept a reserved stare on the boy.

"There's no point, you know." It was decisive, official. The boy had rehearsed the argument and he did not raise his eyes at all. "I'll tell you what happened, just like I told the rest of them. You'll tell me that I'm not crazy, but you'll think I am. And then you'll leave me alone.." Dr. Elton looked blankly at the boy for more than a minute. Rory caught sight of this, but continued. He knew how it worked, even if the nurses and his parents didn't want to know that he did. When the night terrors arrived, he knew that she was there. The doctors tried to cover it all up, though. Rory didn't want to live in the darkness. He wanted to be saved, but he wanted to go to the light. He didn't want the light to be brought to him.

"She's always there, isn't she? She always there, isn't she, Rory?" Rory looked up and flattened his palms against the bed-sheets. He bolted forward and remained calm, but he was paralysed with fear. Goose-bumps travelled down his arms in a domino effect- to anyone else, this vague question would have been met with confusion. To Rory, it was met with desperation. "How do you know about... her?" Rory choked on his own words, numb with a reawakened terror.

"I know about the things that you told the others, Rory. The other Doctors. They never believed what you told them... about you and the shadows and the woman that you saw last summer."  The pools of Dr. Elton's eyes were wide open and Rory continued to drink. He was afraid that if he stopped, he would lose everything. Dr. Elton was not trying to excuse and cover up everything- it seemed to Rory, at that moment, that Dr. Elton wasn't just bringing the light to Rory. "Do you know something else about Dickens, Rory?" The fact that the boy remained still said that he did not. Dr. Elton placed the book soundly on his lap and cleared his throat. "Dicken's believed in those that most people didn't. He listened to the shunned, the forgotten, the unheard." Rory's entire attention was focused on Dr. Elton. He devoured every word. "And do you know something, Rory?" Rory gulped, completely transfixed.

"No", he said.

"I believe you." The man said.

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