The staring man thought he had successfully carried out the execution orders of the Phantom King but he was wrong. Holly had survived.
Two years later, she had almost completely recovered. Pure drive and determination had pushed her beyond all expectations. Her battered body showed only minimal scarring, thanks to the renown plastic surgeon. He had re-built her face and although she didn’t resemble her former self, he gifted her with beauty.
Defying Dr. Boone’s request, Nedward had remained her stalwart throughout her entire ordeal. Although they talked, there was never even a moments mention of Bobby, Bobby, Jr. or her unborn child. She never mentioned her parents.
Nedward often wondered if somehow, mercifully, her brain had erased that part of her life from her memory or maybe it was a defense mechanism. When the body suffers unimaginable injuries, the brain concentrates on those injuries and pain from things such as grief and sadness are subdued.
During those two years of what must have been excruciating pain, Nedward never heard Holly cry out. He never saw even the briefest hesitation. He never saw rage. He never saw defeat…and he never saw her smile. But he could see that there was something going on behind her hollow, lifeless eyes. He just didn’t know what it was.
He watched her struggle to walk, first with crutches, then with a walker and finally, holding his arm. He watched her wrestle with a spoonful of soup, trying to get it into her mouth without spilling it. He watched her drop a hair brush ten times before she gained a successful grip.
He never offered to feed her or brush her hair and never insulted her by asking if she needed help. He just watched and ached and hoped. He took great comfort in being convinced that he was watching a true miracle, as he believed that she had literally come back from the brink of death.
Sometimes he would watch her sitting in front of the mirror, staring as if trying to remember whose reflection she was seeing. It was as though she had amnesia of self. She knew who she used to be. She knew who she supposedly was but she didn’t recognize the face in the mirror.
Nedward had dedicated years of his own life to Holly and had never resented it but it had taken a toll on him. He was feeling old and exhausted. Then one day, Holly said “I want you to take me to see Sergeant Foy.”
Nedward cautiously said “okay, kid. What have you got in mind?”
Holly’s eyes moved slightly down and to the side as she took a deep breath and said “I have unfinished business.”
Unbeknownst to Holly, Sergeant Foy and Nedward had officially “killed” her on that cold January night. They gave her a mock service and her name was added to the list of “fallen eagles.”
That tactic was sometimes used as a protective measure when an undercover officer was exposed or wounded. They would then assume another name and move to another precinct. In a sense, Holly no longer existed…but it was clear. She wasn’t going away.
As they drove to the station, Nedward explained the measures they had taken. Holly sat in silence as she listened. Then she looked at Nedward and said “what’s my name?”
To be continued_______________