by William J Fedigan
She opens the window. Then touches him. Ice cold. Good, she thinks. Thank God, she thinks. She spreads her fingers to cover his chest, to hear with her fingers if there life inside. She hears it. God no, she thinks. She hears it getting stronger. Please God, she thinks, donâ€™t let me forget, donâ€™t let me forget this time. She waitsâ€¦ she waits for it. He opens his mouth and it flies out. It circles the room. It screeches. Get out, she says. She points to the window. Get out. It circles the room. She prays Catholic prayers. Our Father Â Our Father Â Our Father. She canâ€™t remember. It circles. Â Hail Mary full of grace Â full of graceâ€¦ She canâ€™t remember. The Lord is with theeâ€¦ Hooked beak tears the walls. It gets closer. Screeches. Pray for us sinnersâ€¦ Eyes like glass, it rips her flesh. Our Father who art in heavenâ€¦ Confused now, screaming now, canâ€™t remember. She bleeds. â€¦now and at the hourâ€¦at the hourâ€¦ She wonâ€™t do it, wonâ€™t, but the pain. Her skin rips, bleeds. The pain, the pain. â€¦now and at the hour of our deathâ€¦ She opens her mouth. Amenâ€¦
He watches. Good, he thinks. Thank God, he thinks. Must go to Mass, he thinks. Heâ€™ll go to Mass and heâ€™ll pray, but pray harder this time, much harder. Then heâ€™ll come back and heâ€™ll waitâ€¦heâ€™ll wait for it, and when itâ€™s time, heâ€™ll pray Catholic prayers. Heâ€™ll remember this time, all the words this time, every word this time. He wonâ€™t forget this time.