Sunday, May 19, 2013
(#Thirty-three: Reborn) Wuthering Nights: Inspired by Wuthering Heights
Heath had stayed with Kate in her room and refused to be moved until Hunt barged in and demanded to see his wife. Heath was asked to leave. He reluctantly agreed to wait in the hall after he was assured by the nurses that Kate would live through the night and the child would be safe.
At six in the morning he was told the child had been born and both mother and baby were sleeping. Relieved, Heath sighed. Hunt walked out of the room and said, ‘She wanted to see you. They say she will be alright…she’s sleeping now. I have a son.’
Afterwards, when he had assured himself Kate was resting peacefully, Heath went home, and fell asleep on the couch as the sun came up. He was wrapped in Kate’s old blanket. Greta pulled the drawing room curtains shut, shielding him from the harsh light that made his pale skin sizzle.
Greta woke Heath from a slumber he never thought he’d fall into, almost as if he were drugged from lack of sleep. Greta had her coat wrapped around her. Her face was downcast yet welcoming. Heath’s mind was a sea of nothingness. Morning rose like a cloud as the faintest trickle of sun shone through the imminent afternoon storm that would lead to yet another wild night.
Heath rubbed his eyes.
‘How is she?’
‘The baby, the boy, is well and healthy. They have named him Edmund after his father. Annabelle has gone to help her brother with the baby…’
‘I wasn’t asking about the child.’ Heath said wearily.
‘I know you weren’t. Kate is weak. She asked to be transferred home, she asked for you.’
Heath pulled on his sweater and drove with Greta back to The Grange. He’d never had any desire to come here again, to the house with perfectly manicured gardens. Heath had always preferred the wild, unkempt beauty of Hareton Hall. The Grange held no secrets, until now.
Hunt was standing at the door.
‘Oh,’ he said, ‘it’s you. She’s been asking for you, they say there is nothing I can do except let her rest. She lost a lot of blood but she insisted on coming home. There is a medical team with her…’
Heath knew she hadn’t meant her home, here, at The Grange. He knew she’d meant her childhood home, Hareton Hall.
In Hunt’s arms lay a sleeping baby with fair hair, like Edmund’s. Heath brushed past Hunt and the baby and bounded up the stairs, two at a time.
Kate lay on the bed covered in a pale duvet. Her pain was dulled by the drip in her arm. Kate smiled when she saw Heath.
‘Oh Heath, you’ve come back to me,’ she whispered as he leant over her.
Kate pulled him into her, his warm, strong body giving her the strength to speak.
‘I wanted to see you one last time…’
‘Quiet Kate…you need to rest.’
‘Plenty of time for that,’ she whispered. ‘I wanted to say how much…I loved you…love you still and that I have paid for my mistake…’
‘Quiet Kate, it is I who has paid also…for loving you…’
‘No…no…you don’t understand,’ Kate leant in close to him ‘…the baby is your child. I’ve named her Katarina. Please…please don’t take her from Hunt. I know he will be a…good father, but I wanted you to know the truth before I…so you can always keep a close…eye on her… my last wish is for Hunt to raise her Heath…because…’
‘Hush,’ Heath said, ‘You’re delusional. I know…all that is past.’
Heath tried to hide his anger.
Kate continued, ‘I know how…ambitious you are… there would be no place for a child in the world you seek…and because I know it will be hard for you to raise her, reminding you of me. Hunt will love her… as if she is his own.’
Heath pushed his face into Kate’s cheek.
‘No Kate, you are talking madness. Don’t leave me…don’t leave us…’
‘I can’t…stay,’ she swallowed. ‘I’m so tired…no choice…’ A tear dropped down Heath’s face and onto her lips, paler than chalk. ‘I want you to know, there was no one in this world I loved more than you and I will love you beyond this earth...’
‘Don’t go…’ Heath whispered, ‘Fight…’
‘I dreamt, when I was under the anaesthetic, when they took the baby…I dreamt that I didn’t go to Heaven, Heath…’
‘Stop talking this way, Kate.’
‘I dreamt that I stayed with you…forever…here at The Hall…’
‘You’re at The Grange, Kate...’
Kate continued, deliriously. ‘I dreamt that I haunted you…and we went to the heath every day and lay in the sun and it didn’t hurt us… we rode our horses…and had picnics and…raised Katarina…and it was as it always should have been. I never cared about…my career or travel or any of those things you enjoyed…I only ever wanted to be loved by you…to love…you. We are the same person you and I. We were never meant to be parted.’
‘No,’ Heath said, ‘Kate, Kate,’ he whispered ‘… I love you. I cannot live without you…’
‘Then don’t…’ Kate whispered. ‘Turn me…make me like you. I know you can do it…’
Heath held her to him gently, trying to will the life back into her aching, bruised body but her breath was fading. There was blood on the sheets when she coughed. When her breathing stopped the medical staff wrestled Kate from Heath and started administering every possible remedy to her lifeless body until there was nothing further to be done.
Kate, in her breathless whisper, asked everyone to leave; she only wanted Heath.
Later, Heath let out a piercing scream as he stormed past Greta, who held the quiet baby boy, in the drawing room. The infant was unaware of the tragedy and commotion that was the post-script to his birth.