Clare did not feel any more; she had learned not to. It was easier that way.
At first she felt everything; her entire emotional arsenal in constant overdrive, overwhelming every other part of her, squeezing out logic and reality until only the very basic instinct of survival was left.
They had said there were stages of grief: anger, incomprehension; she could not remember now, not that it ever really mattered.
The hardest part was always in the early hours of the morning, waking from a troubled dream, only to find herself in an even more desperate place. There was nothing to be done then, but sit and think and project futures that were never going to happen, that had no chance of realisation. There was no hope in that place, no reprieve. Even now, that window before dawn, when time stood still, nothing existed outside of sadness.
As deep as those wells of despair sank, there were other moments, happier moments too. Sitting in the sun, feeling the heat touch her arms and cheek, yielding to the wave of contentment brought on by the warmth. They would never last more than a few seconds, but they provided just a taste of blissful release, the escape of which she dreamed.
Sometimes remembering helped; not when they were together – those memories stung like raw wounds; but memories of peacefulness, of contentment - walking across a field contemplating nothing more than the colours in the sky - times of nothingness, that is what they seemed – empty of terror and despair. There was a time.
Who designed her to be like this? Why furnish her life with joy and love, then snatch it away, holding it just out of reach to tempt and taunt?
No long now. The pain helped ease her suffering, made it somehow okay, her dues, her thirty pieces of silver.
Not that it mattered.
Not that she cared.
She thought it would be easier than this; a gentle drifting towards the sleep she craved. One last bitter joke denied her even that as death’s cruel fingers clawed their way around her heart, teasing her with their grip until finally wringing the life from her, slowly, simply, finally.
Clare did not feel anymore. She did not need to.