"Come on, man, don't be a pain in the ass. Take your pills." The nurse waited for him, patiently, until he had swallowed his medicine and shown his mouth to be empty. Then she turned away, dull-eyed, to patronize the next inhabitant for taking off his clothes in the hallway and painting a mural with his own feces.
Pjotr was desperate. The judge, the jury, the people out on the street - everybody considered him a madman. The media had labeled him "Valentine Killer". What an appropriate name. Caught on the evening of February 14th, with the knife still in his hand. They had locked him away - not in prison, where his only way out would be frying on the electric chair, but in a mental hospital instead. Schizophrenia, the judge had decided, based on the testimony of a psychiatrist with whom Pjotr had had a lengthy conversation about Russian literature and the downfall of man. Deeply disturbed brain chemicals. There had been lots of fancy words, but it all came down to this: The suspect was stark raving mad.
Of course this was no consolation for the victim's family, who believed that their daughter (or sister, for that matter) should still be with them. The fact that Pjotr had simply killed her and, in every other aspect, had treated her like a gentleman, seemed to offer them no comfort. The mother had shouted obscenities at him until someone had led her away, and the father had threatened to kill him. More than once.
Which would be a relief, considering his current situation. Locked away with the lunatics for the rest of his life. He was thirty-seven. He wasn't even allowed shoe laces.
"Thank you for bringing her to me." The man appeared next to him as if out of thin air, the way it had been the first time. "Guess you paid your debts."
This time, a young girl was with him. Pjotr remembered her. Soft brown hair on a white pillow, breath smelling of toothpaste, with the faintest hint of chocolate. She had watched TV, that night, with puffy eyes and a running nose, although the movie she had rented had been supposed to be a comedy. (Pjotr knew the movie and hadn't liked it, but he was more into all this dark and depressive stuff anyway.) She had been alone on a night when she was supposed to be with the man she loved - two years after their first meeting, on Valentine's day. Instead, he had left her, without warning. She had not paid attention to the movie, switched the TV off after seeing less than half of it, and gone to bed. The bed seemed too big for this fragile beauty.
And Pjotr had climbed through the window and done as he had been told, to make amends for that one night when he had been cruising the streets and not paying attention.
Of course, the story made front page. Tragedy - the husband dies in a car accident, and less than a month later the widow is killed. This is what people want to read, and everything had been full of grief... and hatred for the man who did this.
The woman, however, did not look unhappy at all. Death was very becoming for her. Her pale face seemed to shine. "It's okay, I am not mad at you. I had thought of doing it myself, but I couldn't muster the strength. Now we're back together again."
The man bent down and kissed her, and through their bodies Pjotr could still see the ugly picture of sleeping kittens that was supposed to be soothing. He almost accepted that he was crazy. Ghosts simply didn't exist. And still, he stared at the two in envy, as they dissipated and were gone, still hugging and kissing. His medicine kicked in, and the world turned gray.