Fragment V

Another taste of the story I’m writing…


The call came in the middle of the night.

She woke with a start, her mind still in that foggy place between sleep and wakefulness. She could not tell if she had been dreaming. This was good; lately her dreamlife was made of memories of rot, of bodies beaten and broken and screaming for help, accusatory eyes staring holes into her soul…

She sat up and dug around the couch cushions for her cell phone. When she found it and saw the display, she cursed loudly.

2:30 a.m.

Her mother was calling. She let the phone ring and ring, wishing like hell the bottle on the coffee table was full and not pathetically empty. In the darkness, she moved from the tiny living room to the tinier kitchen. She set the phone on the counter just as it stopped ringing.

She counted, one, two, three, four, and yanked open the freezer. The pretty bottle of vodka nestled between the ice tray and bags of frozen veggies was supposed to be for special occasions. Or so she told herself.

She didn’t bother with a glass. She unscrewed the cap and on the third burning gulp when her cell phone rang again, she almost felt prepared to answer.

Only when half the bottle was gone did she finally pick up.

“Hi, mom.”

“My God! Finally! I’ve been calling you for almost -”

“- an hour. I know.”

“You’ve been ignoring me.”

“Been trying to.”

“Are you drunk? What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m fine.”

“Don’t lie to me. You’re an awful goddamned liar and I can’t deal with your shit right now.”

“Right, mom. Sorry. It’s all about you; I forgot. Spit out whatever you have to say so I can hang up and we can go back to our merry little lives.”

Silence.

She thought her mother had ended the call but then, quietly: “Your gran died. The funeral is in two days. Show up, or don’t. At least you can’t say you didn’t know.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear and clicked the small red ‘end call’ button. She brought the bottle of vodka back to the couch with her and stuck her cell phone back into the cushions.

Her mother’s words were crushing. So she took a deep, shaky breath and then took another drink. And another.

Soon she was floating; there was a blissful nothingness here, a numbness where her brain did not fret about the future or agonize over the past.

Sleep took her with a quickness typically reserved for the dead.

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