There was a knock on the door and Francesca Lucia looked up from her book. No one ever came to visit her, who could it be? When she went outside, she was surprised.
“Helen?”, she stared in disbelief, “I haven’t seen you in years. And never without your lab clothes I believe.”
“Well, about that”, Helen started, “I actually quit my job at the lab. I live in town now and I wanted to say hello.”
“You quit? But you’ve always loved your job!”, Francesca couldn’t believe it. Helen was actually one of the few people from the mountain that she liked and she had always been very passionate about her work. A passion Francesca never shared of course, but that didn’t make Helen a bad person – it also hadn’t made Tony a bad person. His ambitions had.
“Yes”, Helen confirmed, “I quit. There was an incident when Prof. Ballinger was not…pleased with my work. He calmed down but we didn’t really get along after that.”
It was weird for Francesca to hear Tony being called ‘Prof. Ballinger’. They had been married for 13 years. Now, they were all but offically divorced (who cared about divorces when you live in the last town on earth and the only thing separating you from a horde of monsters is a 5 meter high electronic fence). But she still cared for him – just a little bit. She hoped that someday he could let go of his work and find peace.
“Well, sorry to hear about that”, Francesca said.
The two women hugged and said goodbye for now, but they vowed to meet again to talk. Francesca found herself sitting on her bed, thinking.
Talking to Helen had brought her thoughts back to Tony. She had moved out of the mountain the day that Tony had told her about Jennifer. She’s not going to wake up… She blamed Tony for her daughter’s fate. He had forced them both to go into suspension after all. It’s for the best…Yeah, sure. Suddenly, her mobile phone beeped at ripped her out of her thoughts. Who was this? No one ever texted her.
I wanted to let you know
that I am alive and well
I live in a new town and
have made lots of friends
I’ll come visit you when
I figure out how to get
to you. I love you,
Francesca stared at the phone, shocked and appalled. Was this a twisted sort of joke? Her daughter was still in suspension! She felt the urge to call Tony and ask him what sick sort of humour this was. But as she read the message again, her anger eased. It was nice to imagine that her daughter was alive and well. Even if it was not true, Francesca liked to pretend that it was – Jennifer was not really dead after all. Thanks, Tony… she thought and for the first time in ages, she actually smiled.