Someone else owns the rights...I'm just playing with the lefts.

JulieToo performed magic to make this readable.


In the beginning, there had seemed to be so many; it had been difficult to select which one to use. Now he only had one left. The last one she left him. He had used them all and, like he did her, used them well. The last was a reminder of that night and his deplorable actions. A reminder of her he kept even from himself.

He was hesitant to use it because he thought it was the best of the lot. But then they'd all be gone. Then she'd be well and truly gone from his life. He would have to face up to what he had done to her. What he continued to do to her. Day after day and year after year. A special slow torture he had devised, with her in his mind. Only, the torturer became the tortured as his pain increased day by day.

No one else knew. It was just one of his dirty little secrets. It was only fitting; she had been his dirty little secret too. No, not little, she was the biggest, deepest, dirtiest secret he had. He kept her away from everyone who was important to him. Held her at arm's length. Treated her like crap. When he had gotten what he'd wanted from her, he tossed her out. Made her leave unwanted and quickly forgotten until time ran out for him.

Well, not quite forgotten.

In moments of regret and reflection late at night, her memory haunted him. Those moments seemed to happen more and more these days. He heard her laugh in crowded rooms and saw her face behind closed eyes. If he used it, his memory of her would be out there for everyone and it would haunt him even further.

He had almost everything he had ever wanted. More than most men ever dreamed of having. He had what he had aimed and worked years for. But it wasn't enough. The money, the accolades, the respect and the fame. At first, he loved it. How could he not? But each time, it tore a small bit from him, it picked away at his very core.

He would have to come clean, he knew he should come clean and tell everyone what he had done. They had all believed the lie for so long, what would they think of him now? What would they think when they found out that the words they thought were his were not his own. What would happen when they found out just who he had stolen them from? They were her words, he had stolen them and so much more from her. Like a parasite he had fed from her dying flesh and he not only survived but thrived. What would be left of her?

Maybe if he found her first, apologized and begged for forgiveness. Maybe if she absolved him of his sins. Maybe if she let him grovel at her feet, the demons that plagued him would stop knocking around his head. But how do you track a ghost from your past? And where do you even start?

AN: Many thanks to the lovely and beguiling JulieToo for over a year's hard work on this project. I started this last summer but there were calamities and this was put on the back burner to slowly simmer. Now that Cold is almost finished I thought it was time.

And no, I'm not cheating on beachcomberlc. She knows about me and JulieToo. She's hiding her hurt with long strolls on the beach and pre-reading this for me.

This story will update on Tuesdays. Unless something really, really weird happens.