So Cold

Edgar walked through his front door at exactly half past two. However, for the life of him, he couldn’t remember how he got there. He also couldn’t remember what he had done that morning, but that didn’t matter. Edgar had retired eight months earlier and nowadays things like what he had done or what needed to be done didn’t matter as much. 

By Laura Thompson 
Decorah
Third Place Adult fiction

Edgar walked through his front door at exactly half past two. However, for the life of him, he couldn’t remember how he got there. He also couldn’t remember what he had done that morning, but that didn’t matter. Edgar had retired eight months earlier and nowadays things like what he had done or what needed to be done didn’t matter as much. One day was as good as the next.
Edgar stopped and listened, but heard nothing. 
“Odd,” he thought, “Eleanor must be out.” 
In the dining room, Edgar noticed that Eleanor had filled the table with flowers. Eleanor certainly did love to garden and was, apparently, becoming quite prolific at it. He wondered why she had cut so many blooms, but the thought faded quickly and in an instant he found himself halfway down the hall.
Edgar looked down at the narrow floorboards, worn smooth with time and which creaked if you so much as thought of walking on them. There was a time when Edgar had plans of redoing the floor, of course at Eleanor’s prodding. 
“It shows the house’s age,” said Eleanor. 
“It shows character,” replied Edgar. 
Now, as he reached the bottom of the stairs, Edgar realized that he had become so used to the creaking that he didn’t even hear it anymore. 
“How peculiar,” thought Edgar, and he began to climb. 
At the top of the stairs was the small bedroom that Eleanor used as a sewing room. Edgar listened for the whirl of her sewing machine, but there was nothing. He stuck his head in, just to be sure. 
“Hmm,” thought Edgar, “not here.” 
Under the window was the farm cat that Eleanor had let into the house nearly ten years ago and who Edgar never had the heart to put back outside. Its ear flicked twice, but its eyes remained closed.
Just then, Edgar heard the front door open and close, followed by muffled conversation. He went back downstairs and there was Eleanor. She looked tired. 
“So tired,” thought Edgar. 
There were other women in the room and although Edgar knew their faces, he couldn’t recall any of their names. 
“Will you be alright, dear?” asked one woman. 
“Eventually,” said Eleanor as she lowered herself into a chair. 
“We’re all here for you,” said another. 
“So sudden,” whispered a third. 
“What’s happened?” asked Edgar. 
After a moment, Eleanor looked up from the table, but no one answered. The mirror across the room caught Edgar’s eye. Within it, he could see Eleanor and the room as it was, but not himself. Even when he stood right in front of the mirror and put his hand up to glass the image did not change. Edgar felt an overwhelming sense of confusion but then, in an instant, it was gone. 
“Cold,” thought Edgar as he turned to go into the kitchen. 
“So cold.” 

 

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