Continued from Rewriting the Past: Wish Two, the final installment of my Money's Paw fan fiction story for #FridayFrights
Forever and Always
By Lisa McCourt Hollar
Sunlight streamed through the room, waking Jane from her nightmare. Tears spilled out her eyes, streaking wet lines down her face. It had seemed so vivid, so real. She relived her accident every night when she went to sleep, but this was the first time the dream had changed.
Struggling to sit up, Jane cursed her leg. It was numb and she couldn’t feel it well enough to move. Reaching for it, she stared at her arm in surprise. It was no longer twisted, as it had been after the Monkey’s Paw granted her wish, but straight and beautiful, just like her other.
“The damn thing got it right this time,” she laughed. Pulling her leg over the side of the bed, she rubbed at it, urging feeling to come back. Nothing. Deciding it would be best to walk it off, Jane stood, putting most of her weight on her left leg, which felt fine. Then she moved her right foot forward and fell flat on her face. Rolling over, Jane found herself staring at a crutch lying under her bed and some hardware that resembled a leg brace.
“NO!” Sitting up, Jane pushed the legs of her pajamas up, revealing her twisted leg. The Monkey’s Paw had done as she said, her arm had never been hurt in the accident, but in a terrible twist of fate, her leg had. “NO!”
It took Jane some time, but she managed to figure out how the brace went on her leg. Using the crutch to support her weight on her right side, she went to the bathroom. Once done she decided to go and have a talk with the cursed paw. Standing at the top of the stairs, she looked down. How the fuck was she going to manage that?
Grasping the railing, Jane leaned against it, using the bar to hold herself up. Bending her knee, so that her foot wouldn’t drag on the ground, she hoped down a step with her good leg.
“Okay, that’s went well.” Hoping another step and then another, she was ready to cheer victory when she realized she’d left her crutch at the top of the steps. “Damn.” She would need it to walk into the living room and retrieve the paw.
Twisting, so that she could see the crutch, Jane thought it didn’t look too far out of her reach. Stretching out her arm, she leaned forward. Not quite…resting her knee on the step, she lay flat against the stairs and stretched some more. Her fingers brushed against the crutch. Pushing herself forward with her foot, she moved just enough to close her hand around it.
“YES!” Pulling the crutch to her, Jane turned back around. She still had more than half the steps to go and she couldn’t do it with the crutch in her hand. Lifting the stick, she aimed for the bottom of the steps and tossed it down. It landed with a thud against the door. Grabbing the railing again, Jane pulled herself up, bracing herself for the short jump. Pushing off with her foot, she leaped off the step and towards the one below her just as a knock came at the door. Startled, she shifted her weight and came down hard on her right foot. Jane’s leg crumpled beneath her and she fell forward, tumbling the rest of the way down the steps.
“Jane! Jane, are you alright?” The pounding at the door was louder, more insistent. Trying to lift her head, she opened her mouth to answer, but nothing came out. The room swam, as it did when she’d fallen from the swing. She knew the feeling; she was going to pass out. Over her head, the doorknob turned; whoever was out there was trying to open it. Then she heard the thud of something heavy. Just before everything went dark she saw a man come through her door. James. He was in his uniform.
“Jane,” he said, bending over her, “are you okay?”
When she woke, Jane was stretched out on her couch and James was on top of her.
“Get off of me,” she said, trying to push him off.
He didn’t speak and she felt unbearable pain between her legs. He was shoving himself into her, a twisted grin on his face.
“What the hell are you doing?!?” Jane screamed, shoving as hard as she could against him, but he didn’t budge. Her screaming seemed to encourage him. Horrified Jane gave up, lying still while he finished. Somehow she managed to disassociate herself from what was happening, allowing her mind to drift to Brent.
In High School, James had tried to have his way with her. He’d cornered her in the girl’s locker room; she’d always been the last to leave so no one was around. She screamed while his grubby hands reached into her pants and he shoved his hand up inside of her.
“You know that feels good,” he said.
“Please don’t! Stop.” Jane’s voice had come out in huge, gasping sobs. Then suddenly James was pulled off of her and tossed across the room. Looking up through tear filled eyes, Jane saw Brent standing over James. His hands were balled into fists and Jane knew he would have beaten the other boy senseless, if Betty Sue hadn’t taken his arm and stopped him.
They never spoke of the incident after that. The school suspended James, but no charges were pressed against him. He told everyone that Jane had asked him to fuck her and since he was the captain of the football team, no one challenged his statement. Jane was too embarrassed over what happened and didn’t press the issue. She was already unpopular and she didn’t want to make it worse.
Turning her head she saw the bag with the monkey’s paw still on the table. Reaching out, she pulled it to her. The bag fell off and onto the floor. Refusing to give up, she stretched her arm out again, while James continued his assault, oblivious to what she was doing. Reaching the bag, she worked it open and dumped the paw out. Lifting it up, she looked at it, hoping with all her might that her third wish would work the way she wanted it to. Silently she projected her thoughts towards the object.
I wish Brent was here to protect me, forever and always.
The paw twisted and a moment later her front door burst open.
James was dead. Brent had strangled him and then drug him into the backyard to bury him.
“Why can’t we call the police?”
“Because, baby, James was a cop. They’ll never believe he was raping you.”
“No, I mean, why did you call me baby?”
“Because I love you sweetie. It’s you and me forever, babe.”
“What about Betty Sue?”
“That bitch? It’s her fault my little girl is dead. She let her go outside by herself. I can’t stand to even look at her now.”
“Sue Ellen is dead?” Jane closed her eyes, feeling the guilt well up. She’d hoped that if her arm had never been lost, then maybe Brent’s daughter would never have been killed.
“Because of that bitch. So I took care of her. After it’s dark, I’ll go get her body and we can bury her next to James.”
“You killed her?”
“I had to baby, she’s the reason my little girl is dead.”
Jane tried to reason to herself that he was right. Betty Sue was the reason she’d fallen off the swing… no, not fallen, she was pushed. The bitch had pushed her and now she would never walk without a crutch again.
“Besides, she would never let us be together, so it works out perfect. I’ll take care of you Jane, I promise. I’ll take care of you forever and always.
Forever and always proved to be too long for Jane. Brent wouldn’t let her do anything for herself and whenever he got mad at her, he’d hit her. Then he would cry and say he was sorry.
“Please forgive me, baby. I don’t know why I get so angry.”
Jane did though. It was the curse of the paw. She’d forced him to love her, and with that wish and it had twisted that love into something unholy. She would always forgive him, because it wasn’t his fault.
One day, heading down the stairs, Brent got mad at her. He screamed and yelled about how everything was her fault.
“I don’t know why I am even here with you, Jane. I hate you. I dreamed that you are the reason my daughter is dead. I dreamed that you are the reason I am stuck here with you. Well, I don’t want to be stuck with you anymore. Forever and always is too long for any man to be with you.”
Then he pushed her down the steps. Jane felt her neck break. Just before the darkness took her, she smiled. If she was dead, the curse was broke.
Jane heard the sound of digging coming from above her. Where was she? It was dark and the last thing she remembered was Brent shoving her down the steps.
I died, Jane thought. I died. But if I’m dead, then why am I able to think? Where am I?
The digging stopped. Jane listened, her heart pounding in her chest. Something was wrong. Then moonlight flooded, hurting her eyes as a lid was lifted off of her casket… yes, casket.
I did die. So why am I alive now?
Confused, Jane looked up into Brent’s face. His eyes were red and puffy.
“I’m sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I was going to kill myself; I couldn’t stand to be away from you. I knew if I was dead, we could be together again. But then I found this…”
Jane’s head wouldn’t move, but her eyes shifted to the object Brent was holding.
“It’s a monkey’s paw, baby. It grants wishes. I get three of them. I used the first one to bring you back to me. We’re going to be together forever and always, baby. Forever and always.