Hello! This is my one-shot in Meggie's point of view on Callum's death. It's about four hours after his hanging, and she's allowed to see Callum's body.
Now. Meggie calls Callum "Cally". This is deliberately spelt with a "Y", unlike "Callie" because it's one of her pet names for Callum. Like "Lynny" or "Judey" (which does sound like a girls name) or "Cal". Whatever. It isn't her talking to Callie Rose. She's definitely talking to Callum.
Have you ever
Felt so lonely
In this cold
World so cruel?
Have you ever
Felt so lonely? – She's Got Me Dancing, by Tommy Sparks
The walk up the corridor took eleven minutes and forty-five point two seconds.
But it was still not long enough.
Though I had tried so hard to delay my walk in the hope that by the time I reached the room on the end, fate might have changed, I knew that it never would.
I wish the corridor was longer.
The guard heard my echoing footsteps before I arrived, and turned to face me. He was a tall Cross guard, quite handsome, maybe slightly younger than myself.
But the fact that I could make this out meant I was too close.
Why wasn't the corridor longer?
"Mrs McGregor?" the Cross guard enquired.
"Yes," I affirmed. I tried to smile, but the muscles in my face refused to work.
"Hello, Mrs McGregor," the guard said. "My name is Jack. I... was with your son in his final... I... I'm very sorry Mrs McGregor. He was falsely accused..."
"I know," I interrupted. He nodded sadly, and stepped aside, pushing the door open for me.
I never had felt so alone as when I walked through those doors. No-one was there to hold my hand. No-one was there to stand with me, wishing the corridor was longer as I did, wishing that fate inside had changed.
I was so alone.
I took in a breath as I entered the main room, but kept my eyes open. I owed my boy this much.
There he was.
A convicted terrorist, rapist, murderer and what have you.
Reduced to this.
"Callum," I whispered, stretching out my hand.
His hair was soft under my touch, and his skin icy. His lips were blue tinged, and ugly bruises necklaced his throat.
But otherwise, he had a sense of vulnerability about him. Maybe it was the fact he was dead.
It was hard to believe that I had once had a family, that I once didn't have that incomplete ache in my chest, or the hollow rawness in my emotions. It was strange to think that once I would wake up in the mornings and turn to see my husband, and meet his lips. That I would get up and see my daughter blowing her nails dry or brushing her hair. That I would see my eldest son shouting at the telly because someone had been fouled or a goal had been scored. That I would see my youngest drawing something, usually a sun with a smiling Sephy underneath it. My little artist, I would call him.
Now I had nothing.
Ryan was dead.
Lynette was dead.
Callum was dead.
And Jude... Jude was as good as dead.
"Cally," I breathed. "Cal... I wish you were here with me."
I stroked his face.
"Where's your brother, hey?" I asked him. "I hope he had the decency to come. I'm sure he did. I hope he did."
Nothing. I was talking to a corpse.
"I want you to know," I continued. "Wherever you are, in heaven, hell, purgatory, haunting the Burger Bar, wherever, I love you, and Sephy loves you, and Jude loves you. And your child will love you too." I inhaled deeply. "I miss you, Cal. You've been gone for four hours now. I'm so alone. Why did you leave me?"
No, Meggie. Don't blame him. He's just a boy.
And he's dead.
"Send my love to Ryan," I said awkwardly. "And Lynny. And to my parents. And to Ryan's..." I stopped, and laughed. "Cal, I feel ridiculous. There's no-one in your body. There's nothing here. You've moved on. Desperate to leave this God Forsaken place. I don't blame you, baby. But know this. Callum Ryan McGregor, I love you, and I always have. And I always will. Till I die, babe, and it won't be very long before I do, because this pain will rip me apart. And I will go to the grave willingly. And then I'll see you again, sweetie, and it'll be like I've never been away. And one day, we'll be a family again. One day, my darling. One day soon. Jude isn't longed for this earth, I know that. And it hurts. It hurts that all three of my children are dead to me so I can be accepted in society, it hurts, Cally. I miss you already, babe."
I lifted his stone cold hand and tried to warm it in my own, as if my warmth would pull him back from death, and he'd leap to his feet and cry "just fooling!" But he never would.
"Sephy has tried to see you," I told him. "She loves you. She really, really loves you, my sweet. And I'll take care of her, because I know she made you happy. Oh, Cal! I'm so sorry for never letting you and her just be together! For doubting your friendship! My sweetie! It's my fault! My fault that I'll never see you draw another picture, or hear you say another word! My boy!"
Tears rolled down my cheeks and onto my son's pale face, creating the effect that he was crying too. But he could never cry again. His sad grey eyes would never cloud up. They would never move, never smile ever again.
And that hurt even more than it had hurt when my own husband had died. Because though it was as if someone had pulled my arm from my flesh, that they had ripped a chunk of myself away from me, it didn't hurt nearly as much as it did now. Because Ryan was eight years older than myself, and I could admit to myself that even if both of us had lived to a ripe old age, he was likely to have gone first.
But Callum... Callum was too young. Nineteen was hardly an age to die. Even Lynny had been in her twenties, and she had suffered for three or four years. And though the pain for the two of my lost family members ached, their death had been quick and just. But the boy who lay before me now... his was as unjust and slow and painful as Kamal Hadley could offer. And he hadn't deserved it... he had been falsely accused.
"Do you know what makes me the sickest?" I asked the lifeless form before me. "That the judge didn't reconsider after Persephone Hadley told him that you were innocent, Cal. Because if anything proved you hadn't committed a crime, it would be said victim giving evidence against the accusation! It makes my blood boil, it really does!"
I could practically hear my boy sighing and telling me to stop it. If only that were the case. I'd rather Callum complain that I was showing him up than be deceased.
"Oh, Cal... you don't know what it feels like to lose a child. Well let me just tell you..." I stopped myself. "Sorry. I can't blame you, my darling. It's not your fault that you were murdered. And that's the truth of it! And who am I to weep and wail that I've lost my son when you never even got to meet your child? To die, never meeting your own young... Oh Cal..."
There was a quiet tap on the door, and the sound of the hinge squeaking.
I wiped my eyes in an attempt to stem the flow.
"Y-yes," I replied, sniffing before turning to face the guard I had spoken to earlier. His face was organised professionally, but I could see the hurt in his eyes as his gaze passed over my son.
"Hello, Mrs McGregor. With regret, I have to ask you to leave Callum now."
"Of course." My voice was little more than a whisper. "Thank you, sir."
"I have tried to extend your visiting time," Jack informed me. "But this is the maximum I could get away with."
"It's okay," I interrupted. "Thank you."
I turned back to Callum's body, and lifted my hand to stroke his cheek. Leaning down to plant a kiss on his forehead, I whispered him one last thing: "I promise I will look after Sephy, and your child, my boy."
And at the back of my head, a small voice sounded.
"That's okay, Cal," I replied under my breath. "That's okay."