She stood with her feet in the sand, watching the tide to go out.
A moment of peace. Enjoying the breeze on her face and the sunshine beating down.
Any minute now, that peace would be shattered and she was trying not to brace for it. She heard once that if you’re about to be in an accident, relax.
She took several deep breaths in, let them out, closed her eyes, and soaked up the sun, the breeze, the smell of the water.
Behind her, a man’s voice said, “Miss. Miss, I’m going to ask you to please drop your weapon. Will you do that for me?”
She liked to watch the windmills. Sometimes, she’d climb out on the roof of her house and watch them as the sun rose or set for the day.
It was peaceful, calming.
She was jealous of the wind. It could go anywhere it wanted. See the cities and the wild places. Blow past people she’d never meet and carry scents she’d never smell.
The windmills went up when she was a very little girl. The year her mother brought home her baby brother. They were like alien technology on the flat land they lived on. Jutting up into the sky with sharp edges and constant movement.
He watched as the balloons floated higher and higher on the most perfect day of the summer. A day of sunshine and cool breezes and ice cream and laughter.
He loved the trees here but he was glad the balloons wouldn’t hit them. He was glad they wouldn’t pop. He was curious about how long he could watch them until they were out of sight.
They were pink balloons but in the sunlight, they looked gold. Bright gold because it was his wife’s favorite color. While some people made gold seem cheap or like they were trying too hard, Monica knew exactly how to use it on furniture, stationary, and herself that made people sigh in pleasure.
The end of the day was the worst part. The sun going down meant walking back to the house. Back to the silence. Back to the slow, insane beep of medical machinery.
Keeping his son alive. In a place that was neither dead nor living…purgatory for those whose hearts continued to beat without a single electrical pulse in the brain.
The long ago little boy he’d loved more than he loved himself. His only child. The young man on his way home from college, taken by a drunk driver on a cold night a year before while his father slept, unknowing.
The nurses were kind. The doctor was kind. Everyone who came by was fucking kind.
He didn’t feel kind. He wanted to slash and batter and scream.
If he thought, for one second, that he was going to win…she was about to prove him wrong on so many levels. She’d had her eye on this client for months and she’d schmoozed the bastard more than she cared to admit.
In her old life, she’d have sent one of the boys who protected her after the rude competitor who hadn’t found a low he couldn’t beat. In her new life, real estate sales in the cutthroat world of the 5 burrows, she had to deal with the schmuck herself.