Almost certainly the most bizarre, disjointed thing I've ever written. Just to warn you.
Mary - Maria, don't make me do this.
James... James... James...
James doesn't want her there. He doesn't want to be reminded of what he did every time he sees her.
my restless dreams...
I see that town.
You promised me you'd take me there again someday.
But you never did.
Well, I'm alone there now.
In our 'special place'...
Waiting for you to come to see me.
But you never do.
"Did you want to come here?"
Laura shrugs, not looking at him. "It's what Mary wanted."
He walks over to stand beside her, looks out of the window. "...I can understand if you hate me." He hates himself, after all.
She shrugs again. "She forgave you." She still doesn't look at him, though, and she still doesn't speak unless he speaks to her. It's not going to be easy, he feels, but he doesn't deserve ease in his life. "If she wants me to be here, I'm happy here."
James is silent.
It's... difficult, looking after Laura.
He and Mary used to discuss having children, before she became ill. Mary had wanted a child. James had always been uneasy about it.
If Mary were here, she would be able to look after Laura. She had always been better with children than James.
...it's a pity she... died.
"You said that you met Mary in the hospital, right?"
"What were you doing there? Were you ill?" He feels that he should have asked it a long time ago.
"Why do you care?" Laura is always cold to him when he mentions Mary. James doesn't understand why.
"Tell me, Laura." He's never been good at being stern. He can't remember what possessed him to adopt this girl. He can't handle raising a child.
She looks oddly at him for a moment before turning away. "...It was just a cold."
James watches her for some time, and then leans back against the wall and closes his eyes.
He feels that perhaps he's forgotten something, something that could explain why Laura hates him so much. But he never asks.
That evening he turns on the TV, but it's broken and there's nothing but television static, casting a cold flickering light on the walls and ceiling around him.
James stares at it for longer than he should before he turns it off.
He never tries watching television again.
Laura never looks at him.
Laura never speaks to him.
Laura wouldn't notice if he walked quietly up behind her, metal pipe in hand -
There's a sound behind him, and Laura pulls herself up to sit next to him on the wall. They sit there in silence for a while before she leans her head against his shoulder, a little awkwardly. He looks at her, taken aback.
After a pause, she speaks. "...She - Mary always said you were a good person." She coughs, quietly. "...I guess I should give you a chance."
James despises himself.
When James is walking to the kitchen, he hears a faint crackling sound. The radio in the sitting room is emitting static. The radio used to be in his bedroom, but he moved it immediately after adopting Laura. He can't remember why, now.
Puzzled, he walks over to examine it. The static becomes steadily louder as he nears it.
The radio is off.
Confused, he tries to turn it on, but the switch is stuck. He doesn't understand how it can be making a noise if it is not switched on.
James crouches to unplug the radio, only to find that it is already unplugged.
He lies awake for a very long time. When he sleeps he dreams of falling, and a burning stairway, and a videotape in the middle of an empty room.
The radio is still emitting static - it's quiet, as James is on the other side of the room, but still loud enough to be irritating. Laura doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all, he notes.
"Can't you hear that?"
She glances over at him. "Hear what?"
He walks towards her, and the static again becomes louder as he approaches the radio. His proximity can't be affecting the static, he tells himself. That's ridiculous.
She shakes her head, looks over at the radio. "It's not even plugged in," she says scornfully, and then coughs a few times.
The cold is getting worse, James notices.
(Flowers? I don't want any damn flowers!)
The memory of Mary's illness is coming back to him. Short flashes, moments of dialogue.
(Don't leave me alone! Tell me I'll be okay! Tell me I'm not going to die! Help me...)
James looks over at Laura, and knows that he can't live through that again.