“He left me to rot; to die alone in misery; heartbroken. He crushed me under his boot, cracking me open like the carapace of a brittle spider. I tried to curse him. I did. But the more magic I used, the weaker I became. It would have been easier – still it would be easy – just to die. But purpose has kept me here in this wretched world. She came to me. Enveloped me. I was reborn in the darkness. I am alive in the night. Blood keeps me and sustains me. In my loneliness I succumbed. I created others. They left me, as well. I cling so hard, squeeze so hard; I suffocate, truly.
Yet I endure. For Thira. For you.”
“I’ve got a lead.”
She scrubs a hand across her face. She is paler than usual, and I can tell she has lost weight. The dark smudges beneath her blue eyes cannot be hidden with make-up.
“You have had leads before.”
She glances away, flinching a little at my tone. I should be nicer; she has not slept well in a very long time.
I have not slept well in longer.
“Yeah, well, this is real. Not some kid playing pretend like last time. I made sure. Before I came here.” Now she holds my gaze and I see a glimmer of the old Lindy Crow, the indomitable force of nature that slit my throat with no hesitation ten years ago.
I nod, thoughtful. I believe her. “Would you like a drink?”
I do not bother to hide my smile when I see the fear flit across her features. “Of what?” she asks. Trying to sound casual.
Standing, I smooth imaginary wrinkles from my silk gown. Her eyes stay on my hands. The thin black robe I pulled on earlier has fallen open. I tap a crystal tumbler with my fingernail and she breaks from her reverie. “I’m having vodka, darling. Shall I mix you a double?”
“No. Uh, no thank you.”
“Nothing at all, then? Are you sure?”
The crystal catches the lamplight and sparkles. Lindy watches me pour myself a drink with naked want. She wets her lips and replies, “Water. Just water.”
Full glass in hand, I move from the silver service cart to my desk, a carved mahogany monstrosity that I refuse to part with. I buzz the kitchen downstairs where I know Shay is camped out in front of her laptop. “Please bring our guest a bottle of water. The door is open.”
Lindy says, “I have photos.” She reaches into her cross-body bag and fishes out a white folder covered in smeared fingerprints and ink doodles. She places the folder in the middle of the low, oval table between us. The table’s silver and pearl inlays also sparkle in the light. Once Lindy had marveled at the opulence of this room, jokingly calling it the queen’s receiving chamber. The thick white carpets, the opalescent touches, the silver candelabra, the gentle scent of roses, all give the room a royal air. The French doors leading to the master bedroom are ajar. Lindy cannot help but glance into the darkness beyond.
I take the folder and remove the photos. I parse through the stack slowly. Some are grainy images taken from a security camera. Others are blurred shots from a cell phone camera. I hold onto the clearest image and let the rest fall to the table.
There she is, my pet. Caught under a streetlight at dusk. A knit cap is pulled over her blonde hair, and the collar of her navy blue trenchcoat is flipped up. She has watched too many silly spy movies. There is a nondescript stocky looking fellow standing next to her.
“Who is this man?”
“I don’t know yet. But – see that, on the back of his hand? I know that symbol. I know where to find him.” …
Along with personal thoughts and experiences, I’ll be posting bits and pieces of a story I’m currently working on. Feel free to leave constructive comments!
For me there is no transition from sleep to waking.
The dreams exist – I am in them – and then I am not. I open my eyes and notice you are gone. The soft curtains on the tall windows are spread wide, beckoning the moonlight in. I lay still for a breath. Stretching, I take inventory. My old wounds feel fresh for an instant: I feel the blood spurt from my neck; bones in my fingers break, heal, break again…
But I am here, in this grand house. Missing your presence. I slip out of bed, get to my feet, gingerly, gauging the soreness in my limbs. More stretching would help but I do not bother. Instead I limp to the closest window. Pressing my hot forehead to the shatterproof glass I peer downward and there you are, sprawled in the cold grass, staring up at the night sky.
I commit this scene to memory, telling myself: remember, remember, remember this moment of crystalline peace. For you are a painting, a work of art, a beautiful tapestry of interwoven hopes, fears, loves, miseries… and I will rip you apart. With my words, with my actions, or with my teeth – it does not matter. All that matters is this moment will be gone and only bloody, spit-coated tatters will remain.