Nancy Williams

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"I love you too."

It was the first time, but it wasn't hard, to say that. Didn't need to think about it. It wasn't debatable. Facts are facts. We should all go by facts, just a little bit more often.

"Now, do you want to talk about what you're fretting for?"

Bryan wrapped up in the blanket and slammed himself down by my side.

"Something I can't remember," he started, slowly and thoughtfully, "almost there. Tip of my brain, you know? But can't remember."

"Think it's 'bout how I died. Think there was plastic there. Not sure. I remember eyes, they're green, but don't know who's they were. Something blue."

He looked at me, worry in his face.

"It feels like I have to remember, or something bad will happen."

I turned to hold him. "It's ok. Nothing will happen. We'll stay here, just like this. You'll remember when its time. Alright?" I felt him nod in agreement, "Good. I'll help you. Do you want me to? I can see if there was anything on the news, about you."

He agreed.

I've always wished he didn't.

It wasn't hard to find him. Bryan O'Connor, died in October 2017. Local news websites all had a little article about the homicide in which a young guy at the very beginning of his life got murdered by a jilted friend/one-time-lover. She wrapped saran wrap around his face when he slept and woke him up to watch him suffocate. I remember reading something about it, then. Barely caught my attention, other than just how rough it was of her, how horrifying a death, but none of the names stayed with me. Just another article in another newspaper, like a million others in this town.

I didn't tell him.

I had that nightmare again, that night. Everything was quiet. There was no moon, and the streetlights seemed to have all gone out. I tried to scream, but there was no sound. My throat was broken. Again, I woke up close to Bryan, with nothing in between us, the electricity emanating from him. Again, it all stopped as soon as he was conscious.

We continued with our routine. During daytime, I was happier than I have ever been. I had relationships before, sure, but none like this. Never was I so hyper-aware of someone else's presence. Bryan was sweet, and funny, and goofy, and he made me laugh. We played too many games together for it to be healthy, and my work slacked a bit more. It didn't matter. I was happy. We were happy.

At night, the nightmares continued, and they were getting worse. No longer was I in the flat. Now all there was, was a void, dark, empty, quiet, cold. They always stopped when Bryan woke up.

I managed to hide what I learned from him for a week.

"'Ight, come out and say it. You've been dodgy all week."

"Have I?"

He gave me a look which clearly said do-not-fuck-about.


But I couldn't continue.


"Alright. Sorry. I'm getting to it. Just, hard," I rumbled, trying to buy time and organise my thoughts. It was about him, not about me, and I had to make sure he knew I was there for him.

"I found out what happened to you."

His face grew pale and he sat down on the couch carefully and slowly, as if trying not to break it.

"You have? You didn't say."

"I'm sorry. I wasn't sure how to."

There was a pause between us, and the air grew tense.

"You had a friend, Nancy-"

"Nancy Williams," Bryan interrupted me. He was staring at the wall, eyes unseeing.

"Right. Her. She was, well, unhappy. Disturbed."

Each word was becoming harder. I could see the recognition and pain mixing in his face, and it broke my heart.

"Should I just show you the article?"

He shook his head no. "No. Don't tell me. Not yet."

He rested his head on my shoulder. At first, all I could feel was the familiar static, then, suddenly, the world plunged into darkness.

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