By now the weather had turned hot, and the world had begun to talk about “greenhouse effects” and ozone layers. Meteorologists predicted the hottest summer in memory, and the springtime was backing them up.
Without much fanfare, the casts came off. Having them cut off was a liberating experience. I felt like a bird, spreading my wings and ready to leap into the sky. I relished the cool hospital air against the pale skin of my hands, relished the way the blood flowed unhindered to my fingertips.
It took me a while to be able to bend my fingers again, and even longer to be able to do anything as simple as hold a pencil or play piano. I worked at it. Every day my hands grew stronger and more capable.
And every day I thought about Amy’s words. She seemed to be deliberately avoiding me. I hadn’t seen her since that day by the road, and I missed her. I would go to the Silo and rattle around the circular room at its top, hoping she would come back. I felt lost and alone.
I couldn’t locate any of my pencils, only a gnarled, beat up old thing with a rust red colored lead. I drew in my sketchbook with it, deliberately avoiding the pages Amy had filled with her spindly drawings, each reminding me acutely of her absence. No matter what subject I set out to capture on paper, the same image would emerge in sanguine tones, over and over, page after page.
I thought about the people who hurt me, thought about how I did nothing to stop them. I would hear her words, like a whisper on the breeze. I’d see that crumpled heap of red feathers rolling limply and unnaturally down the road. I’d see that dead, glazed eye staring into my soul.
That eye haunted me. That crumpled heap of feathers twitching in the breeze filled my mind and my sketchbook, a silent indictment in my daydreams and nightmares.