[FYI I have not finished this story. I have writers block and can't seem to figure out how to end this short story. Any suggestions would be great!]
Perched on top of a chair, Evangeline mutters to herself as she reads through the tattered journal, delicately flipping through the pages lest they turn to dust. Behind her, Issac glances up from his computer and smirks. For a girl out of time, she looks like a college student finding resources for a paper or cramming for an exam, especially wearing that black oversized hoodie. Issac sighs and rubs his tired face with his hands. Staring at old notebooks and computer screens all day was not what he had planned to do for the last two months. Despite him never getting to choose his assignments, he had no clue as to what he was getting into when they assigned him this case. It lacked the usual death-defying, car-chasing, drug-busting stunts that he is used to. However, this had to be the most interesting and unexpected assignment he has ever had.
Issac sighed, closed the laptop and sunk further in the leather couch. Who would have thought he would be reading a hundred year old books in Glasgow, Scotland, with the author herself? Evangeline continued to mummer under her breath, running her fingers through her wavy brown hair every so often.
“Mhm.” She turned another page unfazed.
“How’s it going?”
Issac smiled and placed the laptop on top of the waist-high stack of books and cardboard boxes. “Aren’t you tired? Maybe, call it a night?” He waited.
“Ah, yeah. Sure. In a minute.”
“Huh, to think that I’m usually the one staying up late reading,” he chuckled to himself, but Evangeline ignored the comment. Issac shook his head, no use nagging her further, she is definitely reading something that has caught her attention. Issac pushed himself up and crossed the dim lit narrow room, gingerly stepping over more boxes, antiques, and books. Issac looked over Evangeline’s shoulder.
“What are you reading?” he asked.
Evangeline took a deep breath and rubbed her eye, blinking away the sleep that hung in the room. “Oh, uhh, nothing really,” she gently closed the book and stretched. “Just, you know, reminiscing.” She yawned arching her back. Issac stepped aside and leaned against the desk and asked, “About what?” She looked at him with her big forest green eyes, the lamp casting a golden glow over her face. “Well, about a close friend of mine,” she said softly. “He was drafted in the first World War and I forgot how much fun we had on the farm, chasing the sheep, swimming, riding the horses. Those sort of things. I forgot how happy we were, how simple everything was back then. How much smaller the world was.” She looked away and pulled her knee closer to her chest. “I just—“ her voice faltered— “I just wished we had more time.”
Issac nodded. “He didn’t make it, did he.”
Evangeline shook her head. “I mean, it’s not like he would still be here today.”
“Right,” agreed Issac. “I guess you’re used to losing lots of friends by now, since you can’t age and all.”
Evangeline shot a glare up at Issac.
“What?” he said, and stared at her blankly.
Relya rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, slightly shaking her head as she got up from the chair.
Issac stood up, realizing what he had said, “Eva, wait. I didn’t mean—“
“—You’re right,” she called back, “it’s late. Goodnight.” With that, Evangeline gracefully walked through the rest of the clutter and slipped into the bedroom. Issac shut his mouth and watched the door creak closed. He crossed his arms and took notice of the mess he was standing in. “Way to go, Issac,” he muttered under his breath. “You can talk your way out of a hostage situation and yet you can’t even talk to a three hundred year old woman!” He looked down at the dozens of books and papers delicately arranged on the floor. They were more than words on a page, they were her life painted in ink showing evidence of who she is; a girl stuck in time.
As quietly as he could, he stepped through the mess and knocked on the door. “Eva?” he asked, “you okay?” He heard muffled noises and the squeaking of the bed. “I didn’t mean to upset you. What I said—“
—“You didn’t,” interjected a small voice.
Issac sighed, “I know how you’re feeling,” he started again, “I’ve lost close friends too. Of course, not nearly the amount you have— What I’m trying to say is that I get how hard it is for you. It’s tough being the only one left behind.”
Evangeline glanced over her shoulder to the closed door.
Issac waited then asked, “can I come in for a minute?” Again, she softly called out, “sure.” Evangeline rolled over and watched Issac slowly open the door, allowing the soft light from the living room illuminate the wooden floor.
“Can I sit?” he asked, pointing to the end of the bed. She nodded and sat up a bit. Issac sat, leaning his elbows on his knees, and folding his hands.
“I know I’ve been a little ‘cold’ lately, and I’m sorry, I guess I have to be in my line of work.”
“You think I don’t know? I’ve worked in intelligence before.”
Issac smiled, “Right, right. Back in the 20s, right? For the Canadians?”
“Sure,” she smirked. “You were saying?”, and nudged him with her foot.
“Right,” he recalled, “I don’t mean to be rude but ever since we found you, somethings been bothering me.”
Issac probed further. “You said that it has been years since you’ve told anyone about who you are, right?”
“Right.” Evangeline hesitantly agreed.
“And you claim that you have never been found out by anyone in law enforcement, until now.”
“So why now?” he shrugged, “why allow yourself to be caught so easily? You have been very clever at covering your tracks, and now, all of a sudden, you get caught. I know when a culprit wants to be caught, so why did you let us find you?”
Surprised, Evangeline shifted her weight and blushed. “Wow. I’m surprised you’ve pieced that all together.”
Issac smiled at her again and asked, “So am I close?”
Evangeline pondered her answer for a moment. “Yeah, I guess—“
“—I mean, what I said back there,” interjected Issac, “about you losing lots of friends, you don’t have to answer, that was a stupid thing to say.”
“It’s alright,” she said graciously, “people have said worse. And I guess, I’ve been feeling a little lonely and wanted to try something new and see who bites. I mean, what do I have to lose?”
“So you got lonely and decided to let yourself be caught by MI6?”
Evangeline adverted her eyes from his stare while trying to pull the quilt up even higher. “Well, yeah. Of course, I didn’t plan for one particular agency to find me.”
Issac leaned a bit closer to her. “Evangeline,” he said sombrely. He knew he hit a sensitive point, but having been a soldier over seas and now at home, he knew emotions left unchecked can leave dangerous footholds in ones mental state, and she knew that.
Realizing he was serious and meant well, Evangeline sighed deeply. What did she have to lose?
“Okay, yes. I got lonely. REALLY lonely.” She grabbed her necklace and began fiddling with it, running her fingers up and down the chain like a child soothing herself. “I attended my friend’s funeral almost six months ago, she was only 88 years old. She was the last person who knew my story. I wasn’t surprised by the news, but I was still devastated all the same. But being at the funeral, seeing all of her family and friends, the legacy she left, it— it broke me.” Tears began to well in her eyes, blinking them away, she continued.
“I’m cursed to watch my friends die, it’s even worst when you can’t even grow old with them. When I first realized I wasn’t aging, I thought it to be a blessing; a divine power of sorts. But that feeling faded. I will never be able to have a normal life, to have a family, to leave behind a legacy for my grandchildren.”
Issac looked away. “I’m so sorry.”
She glanced at him for a moment, then continued. “After the funeral I got really lonely. I couldn’t handle it anymore, this time it was too much. I tried, you know. I tried leaving this world behind but I couldn’t, not by my own hand. It was as if this world still needed me. I just wanted it all to end, to stop—“ she paused and stared down at her necklace. Gazing at the blue pendent between her fingers, she sighed. “To stop history from repeating itself. You never get used to losing people. It’s just, not being able to physically grow up has cursed me to never really move on.”
Silence hung in the room. Issac’s heart ached to understand more of her pain but the words didn’t come. Perhaps silence was the best sympathy.
Evangeline studied his face, seeing that solemn look many times before.