The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
He raised the gun and pointed it at my head. I shut my eyes. I heard Gabriel screaming—“Don’t shoot don’t shoot don’t—”
A click. And then a gunshot—so loud that it blew away all other sound. There was silence for a few seconds. I thought I was dead.
But I wasn’t so lucky.
I opened my eyes. Theo was still there—pointing the gun at the ceiling. He smiled. He put his finger to his lips, telling me to keep quiet.
“Alicia?” Gabriel shouted. “Alicia?”
I could hear Gabriel writhing in his chair, trying to turn around to see what had happened.
“What did you do to her, you bastard? You fucking bastard. Oh, Jesus—”
Theo untied my wrists. He dropped the gun to the floor. Then he kissed me, ever so gently, on the cheek. He walked out, and the front door slammed after him.
Gabriel and I were alone. He was sobbing, crying, barely able to form words. He just kept calling my name, wailing, “Alicia, Alicia—”
I remained silent.
“Alicia? Fuck, fuck, oh, fuck—”
I remained silent.
“Alicia, answer me, Alicia—oh, God—”
I remained silent. How could I talk? Gabriel had sentenced me to death.
The dead don’t talk.
I untied the wire around my ankles. I got up from the chair. I reached down to the floor. My fingers closed around the gun. It was hot and heavy in my hand. I walked around the chair, and I faced Gabriel. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. His eyes widened.
“Alicia? You’re alive—thank God you’re—”
I wish I could say I struck a blow for the defeated—that I was standing up for the betrayed and brokenhearted—that Gabriel had a tyrant’s eyes, my father’s eyes. But I’m past lying now. The truth is Gabriel had my eyes, suddenly—and I had his. Somewhere along the way we had swapped places.
I saw it now. I would never be safe. Never be loved. All my hopes, dashed—all my dreams, shattered—leaving nothing, nothing. My father was right—I didn’t deserve to live. I was—nothing. That’s what Gabriel did to me.
That’s the truth. I didn’t kill Gabriel. He killed me.
All I did was pull the trigger.
“THERE IS NOTHING SO PITIFUL,” Indira said, “as seeing all someone’s possessions in a cardboard box.”
I nodded. I looked around the room sadly.
“Surprising, really,” Indira went on, “how few things Alicia had. When you think how much junk the other patients accumulate … All she had were some books, a few drawings, her clothes.”
Indira and I were clearing out Alicia’s room on Stephanie’s instructions. “It’s unlikely she’ll ever wake up,” Stephanie had said, “and quite frankly we need the bed.” We worked in silence mostly, deciding what to put in storage and what to throw away. I carefully looked through her belongings. I wanted to make sure there was nothing incriminating—nothing that might trip me up.
I wondered how Alicia had managed to keep her diary hidden and out of sight for so long. Each patient was allowed to bring a small amount of personal items with them upon admittance to the Grove. Alicia had brought a portfolio of sketches, which I presume was how she had smuggled in the diary. I opened the portfolio and flicked through the drawings—they were mostly unfinished pencil sketches and studies. A few casual lines thrown onto a page, immediately coming to life, brilliantly evocative, capturing an unmistakable likeness.