Lane awoke slowly from her first dreamless night of sleep in months. Her eyes adjusted to the sun at their own sluggish pace, and soon the soft white and blue colors of the room came into focus. A refreshing breeze climbed in through the open window—it rejuvenated Lane's senses. Her lips parted in response, bringing out a light sigh.

Lane turned over in the bed, white sheets wrapping snuggly around her slender form as she dug her head further into the pillow. A smile drew across her face as her eyes met with another, more brilliant pair.

They were liquid blue pools that hid a certain gleam of mystery. Beautiful. They were the most gorgeous eyes and they were hers—all hers.

Lane reached over and gently stroked his cheek, but no sooner had she done so than a sudden chill coursed through her hand and up her arm. He was deathly cold. His perfect complexion and the warm shade of skin seemed untouchable by such wintry feelings, as Lane had just felt. But again, she was touching nothing more than a lifeless marble sculpture, sleek and smooth, but cold—so cold.

"Daniel." His name fell easily from her tongue, and just its mention seemed to call back the inviting stream of summer air that had been so suddenly staunched out. Again, she repeated his name, but there came no reply.

The phone began to ring and Lane buried her face down even more into the pillow.

"Go Away." She said wearily. Of course, the phone didn't heed her warning. Finally it ceased, but no message was left. The answering machine robotically informed her that the mailbox was full. It could hold up to fifty messages.

Whoever it was trying to call was not easily defeated and the unholy ringing once more exploded into the room.

"Damnit! Go—Away!" Lane tore the sheets off and wrenched the phone from the bedside table. She yanked it from the wall—drawing it up over her head—and flung it wildly onto the floor. When it met with the ground, the noise ceased immediately. Daniel still laid quietly, blue eyes wide open and observant.

Lane crawled catlike back into the bed and pounced atop her husband, a large, square lump beneath the blankets.

"I'm –so- sorry. But they just won't stop calling." She leaned down to kiss Daniel, but his lips were no warmer, despite their vivid red hue. Lane arched back up and frowned, "You're freezing honey. You've been freezing for a long time."

She waited for a reply, but only silence was kind enough to present her with an answer. Obviously disappointed, Lane left the bed and tread ghostlike to the bathroom, her feet barely touching the floor. She moved like an ethereal presence, so lightly that it was as if she was not there at all.

Her searching hands found the light switch and flipped it on. The smile she had worn in her childish flight across the room vanished and her face grew pale. She moved a hand across her face. It trembled, fleeing back to her side.

Anger boiled over and seized control of Lane. She quickly picked up a small table, its contents falling haphazardly to the floor. It slammed into the mirror once and then again, and again. Broken shards leapt this way and that, forming a jagged mural on the tiled floor.

"You liar!" Lane screamed, swinging again with the table at the now distorted mirror, "I'm beautiful! You're a liar! I'm not ugly like that… I'm the prettiest woman ever! Daniel said so!" She threw the table aside and fell back, hitting the floor hard. She felt the rough edges of glass shards cutting into her. But she still had the strength to get back up.

Into the bedroom again—Lane ran to the bed.

"Daniel! Tell me I'm beautiful! Tell me!"


Her hands pulled madly at the covers, throwing them aside. Underneath, where her husband's body had been, where three pillows, lined vertically from each end of the bed. She grabbed them and hurled each into the air.

"Daniel!" Her tone's beauty surrendered to insanity. She clasped tightly in her hands the last remaining piece of her husband—his face. It was captured in all its splendor behind an icy wall of glass, entombed on all sides by a decorative coffin.

A knock on the door, ensued by a scuffle, and then figures burst into the room.

"My God…. Lane."

She stood there rigid, looking like she hadn't bathed in weeks. Her hair was tangled, her cheeks sunk in, and her eyes an endless hollow, with a spark of something disturbing lurking within them. The room smelled foul, rescued only by the shattered window from being totally unbearable. Held close to her breast was a picture, it's frame lying broken on the floor.

"You're never going to believe me," Lane said, "But Daniel's dead."

The startled onlookers did not move or speak, but pity moved through them. One stepped cautiously to Lane's side and wrapped an arm around her waist.

"We know dear, we know."

Lane's lip quivered violently, and she began to cry for the first time.