Re: Survey: A Day With a Fictional Character
Day 6 - Character 6:
My fictional character: Sara Helston (Mark of the Devil)
Written from the POV of Frank Rowlett
It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. I – Frank Rowlett – had fallen head over heels in love with the beautiful Sara Helston. Sara had been married once before, but it wasn’t a happy marriage and she divorced recently. It had taken me some time and charm to win her over. What else did I have to offer her? Nothing much! I had always been a gambler. My urge to gamble could very well become the death of me. I owed money to some nasty looking characters and so had to find a way to pay them back swiftly, because now that I would marry Sara I wanted to leave that part of my life behind me. Lucky for me, my future wife turned out to be a very wealthy lady and she loved to get me expensive gifts. With my life finally heading in the right direction I wanted to pay of my debts and just get on with my life. That’s when everything started to fall apart …
Here I was now. Locked up in this tiny bathroom at our hotel on what was supposed to be my wedding night. Merely hours ago, Sara had become Mrs. Frank Rowlett during an intimate ceremony at her dad’s house. That very morning before the ceremony, I had discovered that the tattoo had spread even more and had by now reached my arms. I had a hard time trying to keep it hidden during the ceremony. Thank God people thought I was merely nervous, but I could tell Sara was worried about me. I took off my jacket and unbuttoned my shirt to inspect the tattoo once again. How was I supposed to keep this hidden from my wife? And I couldn’t exactly lock myself into the bathroom all night.
“Frank? Darling? Are you alright? You’ve been acting strange all day long? What’s the matter?”
Upon hearing Sara’s voice, I knew I had to come up with some sort of explanation. I very quickly changed into my pajamas and got out of the bathroom.
“There you are, darling. Finally!”
I slowly walked out of the bathroom towards my bed.
“Frank? What is going on?”
Sara looked really worried by now.
“It’s nothing, darling. I .. uh … It’s just … You know. I’ve been so nervous with the wedding and everything and … uh … well … I … I don’t feel so good.”
“Is it the pain in your chest again? Frank you said you only pulled a muscle!”
“Yes, I did and it’s the truth. You have to believe me Sara.”
“Frank, this has been going on for over a week now. I’m calling a doctor.”
“No! No, please. Darling, there’s no need to call a doctor. It’s not my chest. It’s my stomach. That’s why I hardly touched my food. My stomach always acts up when I’m nervous. I’m sorry, darling.”
“Oh, Frank. You don’t have to apologize, darling. Why don’t you go to bed and get some sleep. You’re shivering already.”
Desperately wanting to hide what was going on I did what she told me to do. I climbed into bed and buried myself underneath my blankets hoping to hide the huge tattoo from my wife. And I very nearly succeeded … but then I woke up and found myself trashing around in bed in the middle of the night and I noticed the terrified expression on my wife’s face. I immediately knew I had failed. Sara was staring at me in total horror and as I looked down I realized somehow the buttons on my pajama top had come undone.
The sound of my own voice took me by surprise. A million thoughts and excuses were running through my head. She shouldn’t see this. She couldn’t …
“Frank, your chest … That tattoo … Oh God … I read about this in the paper …”
How was I going to get out of this one I wondered? My mind was racing. Finally I had the courage to look at Sara. She sat there at the foot of the bed in total shock. She looked somewhat angelic in the pale moonlight wearing her long white satin night gown. I found myself staring at her wordlessly for several minutes and not only did my mind stop racing but I could also feel my anger fading away slowly. She still looked shocked and I suddenly realized how things must look to her. In the dark of the night, the black and red colors of the tattoo stood out and she could clearly distinguish the drawing of what had happened at Hai Lee’s shop.
“Sara. I can ...”
“F-f-f-frank,” she stammered. “You … you killed a man.”
“Please Sara. Just let me explain.”
I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was terrified, but I also knew somehow she still cared about me and that gave me the strength to come clean about what had happened. I dished the whole story about my gambling addiction and how it had landed me in big trouble. I came clean about my debts and how I had wanted to pay them off and leave that part of my life behind me. The worse part was telling her about the mangy looking brutes that came to my house and attacked and threatened me. I confessed that I went to Hai Lee’s pawn shop to try and sell him the expensive watch she gave me as a present in exchange for some cash, but that he barely give me anything for it. I admitted that I had hung around for a bit and had watched him stash away some cash and that I had desperately wanted to get my hands on it.
Sara sat there in complete silence listening at me. Despite the fact that she must be freaking out inside, she looked so calm and peaceful. She gave me the courage to go on.
I explained how Hai Lee had caught me trying to steal the money and how we ended up in a fight. When he had stabbed me, my rage took over and somehow I had ended up killing him. When I was finally done spilling the truth to my angel it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I also noticed how the frightened look had disappeared completely from her eyes.
“I’m so sorry to disappoint you, Sara.”
“I’m not disappointed in you, Frank. It took a lot of courage to open up to me and I’m glad you told me the truth. It must have been one scary experience for you with this growing tattoo. Admitting you’re wrong takes a lot of guts. Now all you need to do is turn yourself in and explain to the police what you just told me. My dad has some connections and we’ll be able to get you a good lawyer.”
“Sara, … I can understand that you don’t want to be married to a criminal like me. So if you want to, I’m willing to annul this wedding so you can go on with your life.”
It pained me to say these words, but I felt like I had to.
“No, Frank. You’re not a criminal. You just made a couple of mistakes, but you’re a good person and I’m willing to give you a chance to start over. We’ll get through this together.”
“But this tattoo … Sara, this is going to haunt me forever.”
“What tattoo, Frank.”
“The one …”
I looked down at my chest and looked back up at Sara in complete disbelief. The tattoo was starting to vanish. I rolled up my sleeves and found no more traces of the tattoo on my arms anymore either.
“It will have vanished completely by the morning, Frank. Now all that remains for you to do is turn yourself in first thing tomorrow morning. I’ll be right by your side. Just tell them the truth and I promise you everything is going to be alright. Now close your eyes and get some rest.”
I felt relief wash all over me. It still confused me to no end how I had been able to tell the whole story without holding anything back and how it had felt as if I was able to leave that part of my life behind me and move on. What confused me even more was how talking to my wife had resulted in the tattoo vanishing. Sara merely smiled at me without saying a word and it felt as if she was able to read my mind. I smiled back, closed my eyes and drifted off to a peaceful slumber.