“What goes around, comes around,” Grandma used to say.
I recall the last time I saw her. She sat on the blue high-backed chair and the sun from the window behind glinted off her knitting needles as she wove soft skeins into colorful creations. Moments later, I heard a crash and a moan from the living room. I rushed downstairs and found Grandma on the floor, shattered window shards strewn everywhere.
She grabbed my wrist and fixed her terrified eyes on me.
“He’s here! He’s here!” She cried, wild-eyed.
I wriggled my hand free and ran to the phone.
“Robert, it was Robert!” She raved in the ambulance, sometimes whispering that name, sometimes yelling it. Then she fixed her eyes on me with a strange clarity in her gaze, as if looking through time.
“I killed him,” she said, squeezing my hand so tight it hurt, “find him and make amends.”
“Robert Mackey. Find him, break the curse. What goes around…”
I spent the next ten years, to the day, searching for Robert Mackey without success. Instead, I know Grandma better in death than in life. She was a combat nurse at the start of WWII, and later in the war, the Allies recruited her as a spy. Still, I found no trace of Robert Mackey.
“I’m sorry, Grandma,” I wheeze, “I couldn’t make amends. I didn’t have enough time.”
I lie at the bottom of the stairs, immobile, dazed and my limbs strewn at odd angles. Breathing is difficult and blood stings in my throat.
A dirty young man in a WWII uniform stands over me and points his rifle; only a bullet could have made the bloody hole in his temple.
I move my lips but don’t make a sound.
He nods; rage and revenge flash in his eyes.
His bayonet glints and I gurgle when he stabs me through the heart.