How dare they judge her? What gave them the right to take the moral high ground, especially after all they had done? They were no better than thugs and yet they thought themselves so much better than her.
Well Bela knew who was the best of them. Yes; she did some morally dubious things, but that was all part and parcel of being human after all. She had never killed anyone. Not even accidentally. She may have lightened their wallets, emptied their bank accounts - but really, if they were gullible enough to fall for the scam, then they clearly didn't deserve to have the money in the first place. It was simple economics, that's all it was.
She had never spilled family blood.
There was something invasive about the smell of the hospital. All of that antiseptic couldn't disguise the heavy odour of death and disease underneath. It got into her clothes, her hair, her soul, until all she could smell was death. All around her.
He had lain there, a shadow of the man he had once been, eyes open and staring at nothing. The pain medication was no longer working and as the cancer crept its insidious way through his body he had begun to alternate between reality and hallucinations. They told her that he didn't know what he was saying, that the lucidity was fading and would soon be gone for good.
But it was there in his eyes.
They would race from the garage to the front door of the house, and she loved him for never letting her win. From the moment she first drew breath she had always been Daddy's Girl. He was her hero, and in her eyes he could do no wrong. He was the fastest, the strongest, the wisest - he was everything to her.
The day she finally beat him to the door of the house broke her heart.
They told her there was nothing that could be done; it was too invasive, too widespread, too late. It didn't stop her trying, she sold everything she had, searched the planet for the best experts, the newest treatments. The cure.
All that happened was that he got sicker, and she got poor.
The doctors told her he couldn't have meant it, that he didn't know what he was saying, that it was the disease.
But the nurses spoke to her in hushed tones. Told her of the times he had asked for her, the times he had wanted it to be over.
He knew what he was asking.
And she couldn't say no.
The funeral was a strange affair. All the relatives talking about how it was for the best, that he was at peace now, that he would never suffer again.
But they didn't speak to her.
Bela was isolated in the family, the grieving daughter. The orphan.
The black sheep.
When it was over she walked away, swearing she would never go back, that she'd never have to.
She had nothing to feel guilty about. She had walked away knowing she had done the right thing, she had never regretted her actions despite the loss.
How dare they presume to sit in judgement?
It was a mistake, coming here; she'd thought maybe she could appeal to their consciences. Their supposed high morals. She was all but prostrating herself before them and all they could do was mock and disdain?
Bela took a breath.
"Please? I need your help."