Wilhelmina Winters, Fifty-Four

All was silent in the small basement apartment, save for Wil’s weeping. Soon, however, the old furnace chugged to life and sent warmed air through its arterial vents. The worn, mostly cream-colored refrigerator began to hum along. Cynthia’s machine beeped periodically from behind the couch. They sang backup to Wil’s lonely dirge.

Time moved forward, dragging everyone along whether they willed it or not.

Cynthia waited. Rob sighed, wishing himself somewhere without confrontation or conversation. Then, he turned to look at the two most important women in his life. Wil had her face pressed into Cynthia’s shoulder, sobbing intently. His wife met his eye and smiled at him, sweetly through her tears. He smiled in return. He could never resist.

Cynthia looked down at the mass of brown curls resting just under her chin. “Wil,” she said gently. Wil continued to cry, determined to stay miserable forever.

Wil of Winterfell would never feel happiness again. Everything in the world was dreary, lonesome, and wrong.

Misty rain fell steadily around and upon her forlorn figure, huddled beneath the dark and dripping willow tree.

She glanced up to search, once again, for what she had lost. All that met her teary gaze was a sea of gray stones, black grass, and dark paths. No one at the graveyard was living except her, and she no longer wished to be.

Deep brown hair that once curled tantalizingly round a noble face now hung limply at each side of a pale, drawn visage. Hazel eyes shone wide and wet from matted lashes. A large, dirty overcoat barely warmed her frail, sickly frame. Health and vitality had been beaten away by pain. She had been beautiful once, before the rains.

Now, she could never hope again.

Cynthia began coughing. Wil automatically pulled away, to give her space to recover. She and her father watched Cynthia gasp and heave around each hacking breath. As frequent as this show had been, it never failed to alarm Wil. She slid to the floor, waiting for its end.

Cynthia finally stopped, then looked up at Wil, then Rob. She smiled weakly, and breathed a few times in and out. Another coughing fit began.

Wil suppressed her internal panic. Cynthia sometimes had multiple episodes. It would pass. She looked up at her father, and found more than her eyes mirrored in his face. He was also worried. They both watched Cynthia again

And again.

Finally, in a drained and shaking voice, Cynthia said, “I’m sorry, Wil, Rob. I think we need to go back to the hospital.”

 

Continued from Fifty-Three.
Keep reading to Fifty-Five.

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