Copyright is held by the author.
THEY’VE BEEN protecting us from Karen for awhile now. I keep telling them where she lives. Bear has tried to tell them too, but they won’t listen. We think they must be afraid she’ll find us and kill us too.
Karen and I were good friends once upon a time. She used to visit my husband and I almost every night, taking time from her busy schedule at the hospital.
We would sit and talk, looking at pictures of years past, or go to antique shows. Most of the time we just sat at the kitchen table with a big bowl of popcorn between us, playing cards. She was always interested in everything I had to say. She cared how I felt, how my marriage was and once she even asked about Bear.
“Ted E. Bear,” I told her. I was so happy she wanted to include him. Bear said she was making conversation, but that didn’t matter. I loved that she listened to me. She was the sister I never had.
Dave respected our conversations and would sit in the family room watching T.V., or reading his newspaper. Sometimes he would join us. I think he liked to flirt with Karen. Bear said Karen did the flirting. Bear said they had met before.
Because Karen was so caring and concerned, I felt comfortable telling her about how hard it was being unable to work, or how lonely it was. Don’t get me wrong, I’d say, I’m happy. I have Bear.
She looked at the rocking chair where I kept Bear.
“The most honest friend I ever had beside you,” I told her.
I was upset that she didn’t ask him questions or want to be his friend. Bear reminded me of our previous conversation, she was only making small talk.
Karen seemed very concerned about me. She was shocked when I told her Dave would hurt me sometimes. I even showed her the bruise on my arm. She tried to convince me that happened last week when I bumped into an armoire at the antique show. That’s what Bear said too.
My life changed one fall evening. Karen stopped by around eight that night. I remember the time because every night around quarter to eight Bear and I would sit and look at old pictures and have a few gin and tonics before Karen came over.
We sat at the kitchen table and talked about simple things, the weather, the latest movie and my soaps.
We talked until Dave came home, and that’s when it happened.
He came in through the back door, took off his boots and went downstairs to shower. Karen and I waited. Bear sat in his chair and waited too.
Karen wanted to talk to him alone. I think it was to suggest counselling for his temper.
When Dave came upstairs and into the kitchen his face changed. He seemed surprised that she was here. Bear told me to relax.
I don’t remember the exact details or what happened first but I do remember the words.
“So, are you going to continue lying?!”
Screams. Screams that were so loud I couldn’t hear what Bear was trying to tell me.
I was so scared I didn’t know what to do. I ran into the front hall, grabbed the antique lantern from the hall table and hid in the corner beside the sofa with Bear.
We heard the back door open and close, twice.
Because the front window was open, Bear talked me into leaving our hiding spot. We moved to the window and listened to what was going on outside.
Bear forced me to hear some things that still confuse me even now.
I remember the word admitting, and Dave looking sad.
Bear looked at me then. I remember feeling the tears run down my face. I didn’t understand what was happening.
We went back and hid in the corner. I don’t know how much time passed before they came to the front door.
“Sweetheart? Honey, it’s me. It’s Dave. Come on out. I have something I’d like to talk to you about.”
I crawled from my hiding spot to see Dave and Karen standing side by side. Karen told Dave about the perfect vacation spot for me, just me!
“I’ll be there once a week so we can go for walks, be together. What do you think? I’ll call every day, three times! I’ll never, ever let you be alone. I love you honey, so much.”
Karen’s face changed when Dave told me this.
I remember feeling alone and betrayed. They wanted to get rid of me!
Those were the last thoughts that raced through my mind before it happened. The hollow feeling inside started right about then too.
I don’t know how I ended up on the floor but when I sat up I saw Dave sprawled out on the carpet, blood coming from his curly brown hair.
He turned his head towards me, tears flowing. He reached for my hand.
“I’ll never stop loving you,” he said.
That’s when he closed his eyes.
I looked for Bear and saw Karen standing beside the lantern, glass broken and blood all over it.
Bear lay at my feet unharmed.
She grabbed me and tried to hit me. That’s when I noticed there was blood on her too.
I don’t know how but I ended up grabbing Bear and running out the door. I ran as fast as I could down the gravel drive. I tried wiping away my tears so I could see but I noticed I had blood all over my hands.
I didn’t know which way to run. There were only a few houses down our road and fields all around. Bear told me which way to go so I wouldn’t have to think.
We turned right at the bottom of the driveway and ran. We ran and ran and ran. Stones dug into my feet but I was too scared to stop. Bear said he’d let me know if Karen was following us.
We ran until my chest hurt. After falling twice and Bear landing in some mud, we crawled through a ditch and hid in some bushes.
We must have been hiding for awhile because the sky was becoming light when the police found us. They wrapped us in a blanket and helped us into the back seat.
All the lights were on when we drove past my house. Cars were everywhere. Karen’s car was gone. She had gotten away.
They didn’t ask us questions then, and Bear said neither should we.
I woke later that day, all cleaned up. I was in a small white room with a window on the door. The only furniture in this room was a bed and dresser.
I slept a lot. When I was awake, Bear explained what happened to Dave. It was Karen, she killed my husband.
We never had much of a chance to be alone that day. The police kept stopping by and asking questions but only when a lawyer was present.
It seems so long since we’ve been in hiding. I have no way to tell how many days have passed, let alone hours.
I don’t know if they’ve found Karen yet. No one tells me anything. Bear doesn’t understand why they aren’t concerned about a murderer running loose.
They’ve tried to make me as comfortable as possible. Someone is always checking in and asking how I feel. They even brought my picture albums. I don’t know how they knew about them. All we ever talk about is Karen killing Dave.
Bear wonders whether they believe us or not.
I usually look at my albums before bed now. Pictures of Dave and me camping, Dave and me hiking, in our garden, Dave making dinner, so many pictures. We did a lot of fun things together. Our favourite time was late at night looking at the stars and holding hands.
Bear reminds me how much we were in love. Dave wasn’t perfect, but I really loved him, maybe too much. To this Bear agrees.
She watched her through the little window in the door talking to her ratty stuffed bear. She turned and walked down the long corridor to her office. She traced her finger over the nameplate on the door. “Dr. Karen Chase — Psychiatrist.”
He was waiting by her desk, slumped over in the chair. With a tear-streaked face, he looked up.
“I can’t believe it. I never got to see her. When, when did she…?”
“Last night, I got a call at home.”
“Why? What changed?”
“I don’t know. I should have told her Doctor to put her on a suicide alert. It’s all my fault, I’m so sorry.”
“I never got to see her after that night, I…”
Dave buried his face in his hands, partially removing the bandage from his forehead.
Dr. Chase allowed a slight grin to form as she watched her distraught future lover.