The story so far:
Savannah sat on the edge of the concrete wall, staring out over the barbed wire fence. She swatted at a relentless fly that was determined to land on her eye. Her hair whipped wildly as the wind blew heavily across the field. She pulled her robe closer to her small frame. She sighed into the air and rested her back against the cold, brick wall. Savannah scratched her forehead frantically and only slightly winced when she felt her skin break.
"Hey Savannah. Guess who's here?" A nurse smiled at her as she walked out onto the terrace where Savannah was sitting.
Savannah returned a smile to the nurse before sliding off the wall and onto her feet. She knelt down and reached out for her boys. Nicholas ran to her and threw his arms around her neck.
"Hi Mommy!" He squealed and hugged her tightly. He was getting taller, she thought, after he backed away and she got a good look at him. Jake lingered in the background and smiled weakly at her.
His therapist had told Savannah that Jake would most likely be the one to take it the hardest because he was the oldest. Savannah had to admit that it was a lot to have to deal with, but she wanted him to deal with it now instead of when he was a teenager and a hoodlum.
"You okay, Ma?" Nicholas brushed her long dark hair away from her face.
"Yes baby. I'm okay. I'm getting better. They are giving me some medicine that is going to help me get better and then I can come home with you guys." She paused and felt the stinging sensation of a dry throat and she coughed. Nicholas watched her in awe. He seemed not to have any other thought but seeing his mother. Savannah could feel his little fingers rubbing her hand and she squeezed them.
Jake, on the other hand, looked at her with concern. He watched her every move, as if he was waiting for her to crack or exhibit some type of loony behavior. "How are you little sis?" Kim called when she joined the group. "I had to go park the car and Nicholas here could not wait to see his momma."
"I couldn't wait to see them either. I'll be glad when this thing is over."
Kim sat down next to her and motioned for Jake and Nicholas to go down and play on the field. She watched them for a few minutes before she started again. "The good thing about all this is that you only got sentenced to a loony house. The prosecutor was looking for 25 to life and no visitation with the boys."
Savannah remembered all too well, sitting in that courtroom while the prosecutor tried to convince a jury that she was a cold-blooded killer, with money on her mind. Even though they were divorced, he mentioned that she stood to inherit a lump sum of money because she was still the beneficiary on his life insurance. He claimed that her murderous spree would not stop at Mike, but drift towards the kids. Of course, her outburst had only fueled his belief and he manned the crusade to have her put under the jail. She had paced in a cell as the trial went on, not sure what the future held for her and her family.
She thought about Dwight. He had been taken completely by surprise when the police showed up on her doorstep to arrest her. He watched, wide-eyed and visibly shaken, as they carted her off to the patrol car. When she was able to talk to him, all he wanted to know was why.
"You lied to me, Savannah!" She could hear the hurt in his voice.
"I didn't lie. I don't believe that I ever really answered that. I just didn't want to get you involved." Savannah remembered pressing her body into the pay phone so much so that she developed a bruise.
"You killed a man, Savannah. I don't know if I can overlook that. All this time you knew and didn't tell me. What am I supposed to do?"
"Do what you feel like you have to, but just know that I did not lie to you."
Savannah shook the memories out of her head before she glanced out at her boys. "Jake is taking this pretty hard, huh?"
"Well, he's been having some issues at school. You know, being teased because his mom killed his dad and you know how cruel kids can be. He got into a couple of fights. I called that therapist you wanted me to call and I'm taking Jake to see him Thursday morning."
Savannah sighed. "It's all my fault, Kim."
"Don't be so hard on yourself. Who knows what anybody would have done." Kim rubbed the shoulder of her little sister. "I'm not sure how many people would have killed him. But that's neither here nor there. What about your meds? Are you taking them?"
"Dr. Scott says he's going to change my dosage. According to him, the amount he was prescribing me before was too much. But he said something about having to do a psych evaluation before he could change it." Savannah stared down at her boys. "What has been the news about me?"
"Fortunately, not much. I mean, there was no picture when they aired the story and it has been three years Savannah. It's pretty much old news. No one even remembers really. And you were sentenced to a psych ward, not jail. That's not so bad."
Savannah stood up and shook the wrinkles from her robe. It had been hard. Sitting in a small room each day, being stared at by a doctor who was convinced that she was really crazy. Dr. Scott's testimony had been a blessing and a curse. Because of it, she was not sentenced to jail, but she was sent to an institution where she had to serve her time and only upon successful completion of a mental rehab curriculum and psych evaluation could she be released back into society.
"Savannah? Savannah?" She heard her sister's voice calling her, but she kept walking slowly towards the wind.
Savannah closed her eyes and hummed softly as tears tumbled down her cheeks and she rocked from side to side, closing her arms tighter around her body. She listened as the wind rustled the leaves on the trees and blew across the grass. She shook as the chill of it ran up her arms and through her robe.
"Hmmm?" Savannah answered, staring blankly at the white wall in front of her. The wind was gone and so were Kim and the kids.
"Dr. Scott is here. You ready?"
Savannah nodded and followed the nurse until they reached a small room. She smiled at Dr. Scott and sat down on the couch. The nurse closed the door behind her, but sat in the chair near the door, as was custom. Dr. Scott leaned forward in his chair. "How are you today, Savannah?"
"I'm okay. Haven't cried much. And I'm going to see my boys this weekend. I just got a letter. They are doing so well."
"Good. Good. Now, you know how important it is for you to get better so you can get out and see your boys, right?"
"Okay. So, the judge wants you to be able to pass a psychiatric evaluation. So, far you haven't. I think it's because the state keeps sending over these lame doctors who are only trying to keep you locked up in here. But I want to see you get out and start over and get your boys back." He paused and reached inside his briefcase. Savannah watched with nervous eyes as he pulled out his notepad. "It took me almost six months to get the judge to agree to let me see you. I don't have any notes so we are starting from scratch."
"Its all pretty simple. They think I'm crazy and they all want me to stay in here, doped up and stuff." She paused. "You've got to help me get out of here."
Dr. Scott watched her and then solemnly nodded his head. "Let's get started."
Savannah tried hard to focus on the questions he was asking her, but her mind would not break free of the bind it was in. She could only think about her boys and Dwight. She missed him. There had been no communication between them and each and every letter she wrote came back unopened. His number had been changed and according to Kim he had moved. Savannah choked back a few tears, hoping not to alert Dr. Scott. She listened to him as he asked questions all the other doctors asked. What was going through her mind when she had decided to kill Mike? What was she feeling as she suffocated him? Was she sorry she did it?
Each time the answers had been the same. She was only thinking that he had hurt her boys and that as long as he thought he could use them against her, he would probably continue to put them in harm's way. Was she sorry? She didn't know. Sorry, maybe, that the boys would no longer have a father. But that was it.
He sighed heavily and packed his briefcase. "We have alot of work to do. I don't think you know how serious this is."
"Serious? You think I'm crazy too, don't you?!" She yelled. "Well, I'm not crazy." She paused and looked down at the ground. "I need some rest."
"Savannah, I'm not giving up on you, okay?" He gathered his belongings and Savannah folowed him out as he headed for the plastic door on the other side of the room. She headed out onto the terrace and once again found her place sitting on the wall. The more time went by, the more details about Mike's death became fuzzy. Now she wasn't sure if she had strangled him or suffocated him. She wasn't sure if she had been alone with him or not.
Savannah jerked around and saw Dwight standing near her. She jumped up and backed away slowly until she bumped into the wall of the terrace. She nodded her head back and forth. "What are you doing here?"
Dwight looked down at his hands and then caught her eyes. "I talked to Dr. Scott." He paused. "I didn't know he was still seeing you. He thought it would be a good idea if I came to see you. Help you figure some things out. How are you doing?"
"I'm in a freaking crazy house and my boys are gone! How do you think I'm doing?"
"Right. You mind if I sit down?"
Savannah shrugged her shoulders and watched him as he sat down. She could smell his cologne and closed her eyes as memories of their lives together. But she could not forget the fact that he abandoned her, when she needed him the most. "I can't believe you left me, Dwight. After everything we said we meant to each other, and you go and leave. And then move? What was it too much for you to handle? Didn't want me to embarass you?"
"Yes." He said softly.
Savannah stared at him in disbelief. "What?!"
"I don't want to lie to you. It was too much to take. I mean, you said you killed that man. What was I supposed to do? I had Isabella to think about. What would that do to her. And then you know this custody thing is still fragile. Who knows if Sandra would have reappeared."
"I'm really not interested in talking about Sandra. I'm sorry I caused you some embarassment but nothing has changed. I'm still the same embarassing murderer I was a year ago!" Savannah stormed towards the terrace door. Dwight hopped down off the wall and grabbed her arm.
"You really don't know, do you?"
Savannah stopped suddenly. "Know what?"
Dwight held onto her arm. "Mike is dead. But you didn't kill him."
Savannah's head throbbed as the statement Dwight made entered her brain. How could it be possible? She fell to the ground and nurses rushed over when they noticed the commotion. Savannah heard the questions and she could hear Dwight asking if she was okay, but faces were a blur. She felt an overwhelming sense of confusion and she closed her eyes and let her body collapse completely on the floor.
Savannah stared out of the open window. The sun was setting. She let her eyes rest on the birght colors the sun splashed across the sky. She stretched and tried to remember why she was lying in a hospital bed. She turned over and saw Dwight with his eyes closed in the chair. "What happened?"
Dwight sat up suddenly. "You okay?"
"No, what am I doing in here? The last thing I remember is that I was talking to you."
"Yeah, and then you fell out." He stood and handed her a cup of water.
"No. You told me I didn't kill Mike. I did! I know I did! I smothered him!" She screamed.
"Savannah! Calm down! He died from a heart attack."
Then like a flash, Savannah was transported back to that fateful moment. She stared down at Mike's bruised body, feeling an uncontrollable surge of hate. She moved closer to his bed, her hand prepared to cover his mouth and nose. A loud beep went off and she noticed Mike's body starting to shake wildly. Unsure of what to do, she stood there, watching the foam run down the side of his mouth. As she recalled the nurses bursting into the room and ushering her out, her mouth popped open.
"I didn't kill him...." She said softly. She looked at Dwight and thought about all that had happened to her in the past year and a half. She'd lost her children, her boyfriend, her life... and she had lost her mind. Her heart mourned for all the time that she'd lost.
"He had a heart attack. You didn't even touch him."