NaNoWriMo 2016. It starts with a funeral, but I have no idea where it goes from here on.
|I needed new shoes. I could see it as I studied my feet, how they dragged along the rocky road. Dragging and making that sound she used to find so annoying.
Raise your feet when you walk. I have raised no slackers, so you need to walk properly. You hear me? Hey. I'm TALKING to YOU!
I raised my head for a moment, expecting her enraged face. It wasn't there. Just my imagination again. It was my dragging that warranted the need for new shoes all the time. I knew that. I knew that I should rid myself of this costly habit.
It should be raining. I should be surrounded by the millions of heavenly tears. The sky should be a churning grey, and we should both let water flow freely, the sky and I. Our entourage should wander the road in matching black umbrellas, and a melancholy violin or piano - mayhap both - should grant the scene a properly sad twist. She would've liked that.
But the day was clearer than anything I could ever recall. There was hardly even a memory of a cloud up there and down here alike, and no water could be seen anywhere. If I didn't know better, I'd call it a drought. Not that we had those or anything. Droughts, I mean. Drought. My mind was experiencing one. My tears were exceptionally normal. I mean eyes. My eyes were. My tears were not. Well, they might be, but... they just weren't there.
We arrived at the hole. Just a hole. Not even a large hole. Just large enough for... well... a coffin. So this would be her new home, huh. This place would be where the stone with her name would be placed. Where flowers would be placed above her rotting corse. Perhaps a candle for good measure. There were already plenty of others in the vicinity. Bodies. Rocks. Carved names. Candles.
Some spokesperson stood in front of our group, speaking about what used to reside in the body in the wooden casket. Some words were cited from famed books. Poems. Hymns. The likes. Another stepped forward to do the same. Heck, I may have even taken the stand at some point, spoken fluently to the people. Oh, what a person she was. How I was going to miss her. Some fun little tidbits of her sayings or doings. And then...
A ceremonial shovel of dirt was tossed over the lowered box, and people started to disperse. Some tried to gently nudge me in the direction of the gate. I didn't budge. They eventually gave in. The person, the individual, the being given the order to mound the hole in the ground wore lacquered shoes, glinting in the brilliant sun. They were either brand new or really well cared for. I bet he didn't drag his feet, wearing down the soles. I bet he wasn't a slacker. He probably spoke a few words to me as he worked, and I probably answered something semi-polite in return. I was numb. Whatever words passed either of our lips, I did not recall them.
The mound grew to be larger than the established pieces of grass. New graves tended to be that way. There was probably a reason, but I didn't care. The sun wandered its course across the heavens, patient and warm against my dark clothing. I still didn't care. I waited till the lacquered shoes were done, leaving me with some last words and a gently tap on the shoulder. The sun was leaving as well, its orange and fiery rays the final goodbye as shadows grew darker and longer. Eventually I allowed my knees a well needed break from my body-weight, and allowed a twisted smile to drag across my grief-stricken face.
"I told you it'd rain." I said, feeling drops of water wander down my face, fleeing off my chin and onto the green grass. With those parting words the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, and I was left in all my lonesomeness, the somber sky darkening towards the heavenly blue of the night.
"Hey. HEY!" I opened my eyes with a start, looking up at the person I did not know. Who was he? Was he male? Was it wrong to call him male? Why did I question my label? He was a guy. Had to be. I stared at him, how he was obnoxiously close to my face. His lips were pink, perhaps soft? While I noted the particular shape and roundness of his lips, I had to admit that I had not studied lips in general enough to make up any opinion on its scrumptiousness. Some people could speak at length about the subject. He kept on speaking after getting contact, but I had long since lost interest in his words when his lips caught my attention.
"Hm." I grunted in an attempt to establish my ability to comprehend human speech. I must have dozed off. Clearly. Not at the graveyard though, as I first feared. Where was this, exactly? I sat up, feeling the ground and room sway dangerously. Okay. I was intoxicated. Not hangover just yet, but I may have a major one coming up later on.
This was a house... or something.
"Hey, miss!" I looked back at the guy. He was rather sober compared to the state of this place. I could smell the reek of vomit. The ground where I had found my bed for the night - said bed being the floor to be fair - littered with empty alcohol containers, spilled liquour, and the occasional specimen of tobacco. Other people had also been like me, finding the ground more than adequate as a bedroom. Some where in a sorry state of undress. Some of these were also in rather compromising groups. One or two probably slept in their own vomit.
"Hey." I returned to the demanding guy in front of me. He had a torch in his hand. I mean flashlight. I mean torch. Others like him were waking the ones still sprawling about. Most had probably fled. Police. I noticed the uniform as the realisation set in. He used his lighting devise to flash my eyes. Not police? No. Definitely police. Just one familiar with first aid. Or he just deliberately wanted to cause me annoyance.
"Can you get up?" he asked when he found whatever he was looking for in my eyes. I was uncertain, but managed with his help to achieve a state of upstandingness.
"Do you have any legitimation on you?" he asked, his hand letting go but clearly remaining on standby when I swayed dangerously. Legitimation? Ah. He thought I was underage.
"'fraid not, officer." I managed to say, almost without a stutter though the A was lost somewhere between thought and utterance. Wait... I hold up a finger while the free hand made the rounds. One pocket. Another. As I fondled my right breast I found what I suddenly remembered, and my halting finger left its position in front of the officer as I pressed the hand into my bra, producing the little metallic wallet. I opened it, spilled the contents all over the place, but after a minute or so I handed the guy the little card he was asking for. A drivers licence, of all things. Why anyone had ever given me permission to roam legally on public roads was beyond me, but that little piece of plastic stated as such.
"Rayleigh? 56 years old. Male?" he said, and I grabbed hold of the piece in an instant, placed it back in my wallet. Okay. Wrong piece of plastic. I studied the pieces. No. Not that one either. It sure was dark. Ah. There. Second attempt. He nodded. Clearly the person staring back at him from that piece of legitimative plastic was a grumpy and not yet awake, albeit very much sober girl who was also me. Just of the past. An easier past.
"Why do you have your dad's drivers license?" he asked as he returned my proof of age. I shrugged, repelled his attempt of a slightly condescending joke. He grabbed me by the elbow, helping me walk while gently forcing me to follow him to the outside, where a small flock of public-serving cars stood parked and blinking. The police was most present, but some ambulances also stood by. Even a firetruck. This had to have been one heck of a party. I was placed in the mouth of one of the ambulances, and the eye-trick was repeated. I should have known that the police guy didn't know his shit.
"How much have you been drinking tonight, miss?" was the first question the woman asked. I stared at her. How much, huh? My mouth was in a state of dryness, soaked in the disgusting stale aftertaste of alcoholic substances, but beyond that I had no idea how much I had been drinking, or for how long. Was this the day after the funeral? A month thereafter? She had disconnected earlobes. They were pierced, and some simble rings in silver adorned them. Disconnected earlobes were supposed to signal munifisence. Or selflessness. I was never quite sure about that one. Mayhap was that why she worked in an ambulance. Could one even work in an ambulance? Was she part of a hospital force? Or a doctors office. Or some other health-focused organisation?
"Miss?" I kept staring at her earlobes, though I faintly registered her trying to regain contact. I had never gotten around to piercing my ears. It didn't have anything to do with fear, I think, though the idea of the pain did repulse me a little, but... Well. There was no use in piercing my ears now.
"Serenity?" I looked up at the officer when he called the name stated in my drivers licence. He smiled in an encouraging way, and I blinked a few times.
"I don' remember." I said, answering the question I had heard uttered, losing a T in the process. I really did lose some integrity when losing such valuable components of my language, yet it probably supported my status of intoxication. Or status as an intoxicated person.
"Are there anyone we can call?" the woman asked. I refused to look at her.
"Maybe your parents could come and pick you up?" the policeman added in an attempt to keep my attention. He did not have brown eyes. The light prevented me from seeing what colour it was, other than not brown. He had compassion in those eyes. Or was it his face? I shook my head instead of saying anything, causing the world to shift for a bit. I was glad I was sitting, or I would have gone down for the count. I understood that they were trying to make things easier on me. I did not own this place, and I was of age, if only barely. Driving me somewhere else, to relatives or friends or the likes, would spare me of having to spend a night in jail. Or the drunken arrest. Since I had never been to either, I was not overly familiar with the terminology of the places policemen took people.
"What about friends?" the officer said, tried to smile in a friendly manner. Friends. What were friends? Why would they be helpful? I shook my head again, despite the displeasure it granted me, and looked about. This was a neighbourhood I was not familiar with. Not at all. The house I had exited was on the large side, a three story house with a slanted roof and a sizeable terrace on the second floor. Or was it a terrace? In any case, the house was separate from other houses, and a forest could be seen barely protruding in the background. I wasn't even in the city anymore. This was suburbia, bordering to the rural. Light pollution still allowed a chosen few stars to glint at me from the heavens. Of course looking at them was exceedingly difficult in my current state, so I quickly gave up on looking for Orion. More people were around. Some kid or another was clearly resisiting arrest, without much success. Another was crying by a policecar, begging them not to call his parents. Even with the flair of drama here and there, this was a very calm razzia by most standards.
"Serenity." I returned to the boy. The man. Whatever.
"Where should I drive you then?" he asked. So friendly. So laidback. This was not a city police-man. He nor his coworkers expected guns or knives or lawyers. How cozy of them. All police-men should be like this guy. I bet crime would go down if they were, since no one genuinely could dislike him. Or perhaps was it just because I was an underage looking not so underage girl who may or may not be developing a drunken crush on the guy. I called it a drunken crush since intoxicated decisions about crushing or not crushing on someone were unreliable ones, and could be regretted fiercely the day after. I looked at his shoes in my lack of a good answer. He wore sensible shoes. The kind that he could jog comfortably in. They were well kept considering the evident signs of age, though he ought to consider buying new ones in a foreseeable future. How strange it was that an officer of the law was not going for running shoes.
"I can walk." I said after returning to his well proportioned face. Or at least my drunken wit was telling me it was well formed. Best not to trust it. The statement was true enough. I was indeed capable of walking. I was most happy to walk. The cute little insinuation about me knowing where to walk was a blatant lie, but then again it was an insinuation. Those were gray areas in the truth speaking business. The police officer allowed a little laugh to escape his grinning face as his brows briefly neared each other in obvious disbelief, before he returned to his friendly demeanor. He did not distrust my little misleading insinuation. He was distrusting my ableness to get there. A fair assessment. Chances were that an alley would serve as my next bedchamber, and though our reasonings behind this probable choice differed, he was correct in envisioning me in the gutter.
"Don't worry, miss, it is no bother." he said reassuringly. I noted that the woman with the earrings had gone to look at some other drunken person, and that the boy or man or whatever and I were relatively alone by the ambulance door. He was awfully polite, this one.
"Hey Drew, this one needs a ride home!" the call was welcome, and the police officer named something Drew gave me a safe smile and a promise to return, only to leave in a car with some obvious minor in the back seat. I managed a more direct lie towards another officer about my home being just nearby, just up the road, and faked a straight line until I was out of sight from the main masses of officers and nurses, before I set into a run in a jagged line, heading for somewhere else. I wanted the forest to envelop me, to surround me and lock humanity out, just for another hour. Just for another week. If only the sun would never rise, my run could last forever, and only Drew the officer of the law would remain to notice my absence.
Waking up to a thundering headache and an unstoppable urge to stench up the area with a mixture of old undigested alcohol and stomach acids was my welcome back to the real life, reminding me in agonising cramps that I was indeed alive. Oh joy. The light of day was painful, so I spent at least a good hour or so with my eyes clothes, allowing my churning stomach to rid itself of my poisonous hobby, while I in my mind held a groggy speech at my hangover and common sense on the topic of changing said hobby towards an existence of abstinence. My hangover was an avid fan, while my common sense argued that these promises had been given before without much effect. As I crawled away from my scene of bodily contents, curled into a ball and waited for the headache to subside, I grudgingly agreed with my common sense.
I spent a good while like that, tasting my bile and feeling the cold seep into my bones. By the glaring lights on the other side of my eyelids ti was told that the sun was ever brilliant today. The wet and frosty ground told me that it had not been like this ever since the funeral. Rain had been falling, surely. And frozen. Or was it just rime? Was this truly just the following day? Was Drew but a dream?
Freezing was not as I had imagined. I had assumed it to be a gentle pain, a lulling numbness traveling up my spine and through my veins, encouraging me to sleep. This was not so. I felt annoyance more than anything. The cold was annoying me, like an itch I couldn't quite rid myself of. I had to open my eyes at last, realising that sleeping was long since out of the picture. The headache endured, but the itch of the cold triumphed my want to leave this day behind in favour of the next, one void of meddlesome hangovers.
Again I found myself surprisingly away from the graveyard I had expected to meet my squinting eyes. As I sat up, I was in a field. Yellow and likely dead hay - or was it called something else? - swayed in the weak breeze, and the sky was a crystallic blue, clear and cold against the pale sun. Winter was what this spoke of, despite the autumn that had ruled during the day two memories past. It did not necessarily indicate any time to have passed by, since Autumn was a fickle lady, willingly shifting between herself and Lord Winter frequently before the cold truly set in. It could still be yesterday that she was buried. I was still numb enough to feel the gentle nudge the lacquered shoes had left on my shoulder. My stomach churned again, and another bout of bile adorned the ground before I got up, looking about and shivering as the weak wind got a better hold of me. Not a single household could be spotted in my immediate vicinity.
I was still wearing the dark clothing from the funeral. Had been wearing it during the wake-up call in that house as well, if memory served me right. It was no longer in pristine condition, for obvious reasons. My skirt was covered in dirt, torn on the side, and something not too dissimilar to old vomit was giving off an iffy odour upon closer inspection. My white shirt was now spotted in red and white wine, some vomit, a spray of both sweat and drool, with a sprinkle of dirt. The long sleeved black jacket... or parkas? Or Something. It was made in soft fabric, covered my bum and upper thigh, and had buttons at the front that could be left open or closed. Currently two buttons were in use. It had a variety of thorns and leaves and twigs stuck to it, a few seams had loosened, though I fortunately had few actual stains on it. Chances would have it that I had discarded it at the time of fine and less fine wines, only to find it again in time for bedtime. How very reasonable of drunken me to care for the future. If I only thought like this as I decided to enter the woods. And where was my left shoe in all this? Had it been there when I woke up in the house? It had been there when she was buried, but...
"What time is it?" I jumped at the sound of my own voice tearing through the midday hush. No reply. Of course not. No one was around, obviously. My feet were cold. Numb. I should probably try to get to somewhere before the weather really decided to return to its old habit of gale and rain.
"I really must have showered in wine last night." I uttered once I was certain that I was alone, and the initial shock subsided. I giggled at the temporary freedom I had stumbled upon. No one to be correct around. No one to watch my words around. What I said only I would hear. How ridiculously wonderful! A smile cracked my lips and allowed the cool wind to touch my teeth, and I allowed a louder than what was necessary laughter to resound in the crisp air. My head was still in pain, my feet partially bare to the elements, and I had nowhere to go or anywhere to return. I laughed because I wanted to hear myself laugh, and because I could not belong anywhere else than where I was right at that moment. And because I ddn't feel like crying just yet. There would be plenty of time for that later.
The laughter subsided into a series of desperate barks, and silence again settled. The joy of acting out was short lived, though I allowed for a distant smile and the occasional twirl to light up my wanter through the field, wet grassswiping me by all the way up to my hips. My one soggy shoe made funny drowned sound as I walked, and made that one encased foot feel like I was wandering through a swamp rather than a field as I were. there was also a peculiar sound to my grazing past me. I liked it.
As silence stretched out my ears grew wary of every sound around me. How the wind rustled through leaferies, how critters spurted in trees and bushes. I grew acutely aware of the buck eyeing me cautiously from a cluster of trees some ways over, and the wandering sun that soon enough would leave me to shadows and frost. Even if I was amazed with the beautiful sceneries that surrounded me, I felt the emptiness of my stomach and the bitter bile on my tongue. I felt the growing blister on my shoed foot, and the fatigue spreading like the plague throughout my body.
I walked through fields, a river, a pine forest, then yet another field, before I realised that if civilisation was what I yearned for I surely had gone the wrong way. As my pounding headache and deblitating nausea subsided, hunger and cold made themselves more apparent. As I arrived at a second river I sighed in exhaustion, dreading the chill of the near frozen water. Though sleeping at this point may prove fatal, I decided to stop for the day, mindfully ignoring the temptation to further expand the holes in my woolen stockings. The sun was leaving again, and the darkness was grabbing hold of me. Why was I wandering? If I wanted to be found I should have stayed in that field, likely closer to help than now. Even if I wanted not to be found, staying there, crawled into a ball, surely would have granted me a serene demise.
Then again, there was that itch. That need to move about. To do something. To do anything. It was still there, just slightly easier to deal with when the exhaustion stood on the other side and urged me to remain seated. With a groan I got up. As long as stupid decisions ruled... I wrenched my white shirt off my body, quickly covered up using my upper wear in case... I crouched in surprise when a sound alerted me of a presence, my heart galloping within my chest by the time I saw the culprit. An equally flabbergasted fox. It stood frozen, eyeing me where I stood, assessing my potential as an enemy. I lifted a hand, slowly, towards it. He was curious. Or she was. I was not one to label a fox with a gender, though I to be fair doubted that it even cared what I labeled it.
Slowly it neared, the ears moving between upright and bent backwards. It was afraid of me since I was bigger, though I suspected I would be the losing party in a spat. It got close enough to tickle my fingers with its whiskers. It decided over the span over a few seconds stretching into eternity... that I was indeed the enemy. White teeth sank into my hand, and I dragged it and the fox towards me in sheer surprise, the cretin letting go and whisking back into the bushes as I stumbled upon my behind. Not my most glorious moment. I probably just got infected with rabies too, which again voted in favour of me having stayed behind in the field when I first woke up. Well. I turned back towards the river, lost the parkas or whatever it was called, used my not bloodied hand to drag the stained shirt with me into the river.
I didn't stray long into the frothing masses. Just up to my ankle or so, where I promptly sat down, partly against my will - ignoring the freezing pain - and started the task of trying to remove both odour and stains from my shirt. The stains were more or less a lost cause, but there was no need for me to reek of vomit and sweat as I died of the cold. The woolen stockings would keep me warm even after being wet, so I hoped some strenuous excercises to heat me up after this foolish endeavour. Or I might die tonight. No one would know. Only Drew the police officer would even wonder where I went. I hoped he got the kid home alright.
"I know mountain water is supposed to be extraordinary, but even that won't save that shirt of yours." I jumped again, partly expecting the officer of the law to stand there, on the riverbank behind me, smiling that would be gentle smile of his. It wasn't him, of course. It was someone else. The dakness was already robbing me of the ability to distinguish colours, but I saw the contour of a someone there, his hands to his hips in a semi-lenient pose.
"You should get out of there before..." he started as he took a few steps towards me, the moment stretching out into an eternity before I scurried away, into the masses, a sob of terror strangled in my throat as I suddenly lost contact with the ground, and my whole body was carried off in wintery froth, furiously and unforgivingly leading me towards damnation.
When a child is made, it grows inside its mother, surrounded by her lulling heartbeat, enveloped in soothing water. People knowledgeable on the matter may be able to cite the exact components of this liquid, but water is involved, and for months that is the reality of the child, until it is born into a world above water. It is the safest place to be until then, swimming in this liquid, yet as we are born, we learn to fear what we name drowning, for it is imprinted in our very souls that going backwards only means death.
I awoke gradually, seeping back towards consciousness, surrounded by warmth and a gentle hum moving about. Creaking wood added to the nonsensical melody, the orchestra complete with the occasional shuffling of items. So I was not yet gone.
"I can hear your desperation from across the room." a male voice commented in the voic between the end of one hum and the beginning of the next. It jerked me towards awakeness, but didn't quite manage to finish the job. I was still numb, but the itch was no longer there. Oh wait. The moment I thought of it, there it was. I was well overdue a visit to the restroom.
"What is this?" a somber voice replied, one belonging to a stranger. Wait. Were they not both strangers? No. Clearly not. I recognised the first from... somewhere.
"Breakfast." the first one replied after the hum stopped. Breakfast. Food. Sustenance... The final jolt opened my eyes with a start, sat up, crouched over... and decorated the floor with a good mouthful of bile.
"I was going to ask..." the silent voice asked.
"No you weren't" the first voice replied. I kept my eyes closed after puking so violently since I was yet at a stage of awakeness where I was readily willing to face the owner of the floors I just tarnished.
"But you were going to tell me..."
"No, I was not, but since you did ask... sort of... meet my new wife." this got my attention, and I raised my bile-dripping face to look at the fellow who had spoken. He sent me a smirk for my effort, not showing any anger for my actions nor regret for his words.
"You are ever cruel," the other said dryly.
"That is an interesting look in your face, considering. No anger?" the guy I was staring at said to me. He was challenging me to be enraged. He was also failing. I could feel no rage. Numbness could not produce such a hot feeling. What I was experiencing was as such not fury, but...
"Here." he reached out towards me with what appeared to be a glass of water, but I reeled away from him, causing me to misplace my hand, hitting air and as such falling off the bed in my hurry to get away. A bed placed in the middle of a kitchen, I might add. It was horrendously out of place, but I had no time to ponder on it. I lay awkwardly on the floor, looking at the guy. He turned away, placed the glass on the kitchen counter, taking a deep breath.
"She's afraid of you." the other being commented. It was sitting on the windowsill, looking at me curiously. This was not where I was supposed to be. This is not where I'm supposed to be.
"It would seem so." the other said calmly. There was no escape. The only viable exit was the open window, but there it sat. It. Or she. Or he. I'd call it a she. Perhaps I should. While some found it insulting to have their gender assumed, I though it might be ruder to derive them of any alivness by attaching the gender-neutral "it" to them. She was either a pretty girl or a beautiful boy. There were traits I could attach to either, yet when I attached female to her person more words seemed to work against my assumption.
"I assume you have a name?" I jumped as he was suddenly on the bed, sitting with his legs right beside my sprawled body. A name? He didn't know?
"Just give her a new name and get this over with" the one on the sill commented in a more bored than solemn voice this time around.
"But I like old names." the guy on the bed argued.
"No you don't." the one on the sill stated matter of factly.
"But she might." he countered.
"You mean you don't know?" she accused him.
"I know everything..." he said with conviction, yet in a manner that made me instantly doubt him.
"..yet you know nothing. You do realise what they are going to say." she said, voicing out my doubts. But who were they? It sounded usfficiently ominous, and made me uneasy.
"I don't care." he said, sending me a quick glance. I did not move. Moving served no purpose. I just looked between them as they talked, imagining being in a place where they were not.
"You should. In any case, do something about this mess will you?" she seemed somewhat insulted, but did not seem to want to pursue the issue further as she indicated the mess I'd made with my uneasy stomach, a mess I thankfully had not landed in during my premature escape attempt. After stating her obvious annoyance with the state of things, she left from where she had presumably entered, through the window. I stared after her, noting that it had seemed as if she was jumping down a sizeable height, and that I may not be able to find my escape this way after all.
"She's a hassle, but a good friend. Are you hungry?" the guy who remained asked, held up a plate of food he had left beside him. He lifted what appeared to be a french fry to show off what was on the plate. I did not reply, and he sighed, took a bite.
"See? All safe." he urged me on, tried winning me over with a broad smile.
"You should have some. It's good stuff." he added and lifted his legs up to sit in a lotus, eating the food in a manner that obviously tried to convey the excellent taste. I had to admit, though I was reluctant to try out his food, that I was well beyond the stage where I would call myself pekish. When he caught up on my lack of conviction he easily jumped down on the floor, moving my legs to be on top of his. I froze when he touched me, but he did not do anything else beyond not sitting on me, so I eased up after a few moments.
"So what kind of food do you like?" he asked casually while nibbling off his fries, not caring about my continued silence. What kind of food... What kind of food did I like indeed. I could not really remember my last decent meal. Perhaps did I like everything. Or nothing. When the mucnhing stretched out I started to feel really uncomfortable, and the itch to move returned. Reluctantly I tried to sit up, struggling a bit with my incapacitated legs, finally sitting up. My feet were returned from their hold in his lap, and I supported my back on the bed, a few feet or hands or there and there away from the fellow with the fries.
"Maybe you like pancakes?" he said casually as I looked at him eat, not making a move towards me. The room was a small one. Woode floors with the broad wrinkles of age, coloured like the bark of an oak. Shimmery enough to be lacquered. Tehwalls were tapestried in a light eggshell white with pictures of bundled flowers, green and red and yellow and blue in colour. The one window to the outside was sizeable enough for me to stand upright if I had been on the sill, proad anough for me to raise my arms to my sides and still remain visible. White curtains played in the mild breeze of the outside, and it was sunlit daylight that entered the room. The kitchen was integrated, the closet doors a faded light grey, the countertops a darker grey stone. The bed was an eyesore in this setting. It did not belong, with its more red-brown wood and simple design, complete with somewhat rough looking but soft feeling bedsheets.
"Well, I should probably clean this mess up before it is imbedded permanently in the floor, don't you think?" he got up, leaving with the empty plate, soon casting the room into a pine smelling soap-heaven in contrast to the bitter bile competing with freshly baked french fries.
The window was calling to me, challenging me to exit through it towards freedom. But why? Why would I want to return to an existence of near death in some forest?
"Ah." I involuntarily uttered the slight exclamation as I was halted just in front of the window. When I had gotten up was a mystery, but there I stood, eyeing the world beyond the kitchen. We were comfortably above the ground, but no more so that I could get out there without risking my life. 5 metres, mayhap? 6?
"You need to stop thinking about reckless things, darling." the boy said calmly, his arms firmly wrapped around my frozen body. WHat did he want from me? I tried wrenching myself lose, usen sudden surprise moves to catch him off guard. But even if I felt him
"I am going to let you go, calmly go over to the window and close it, and then return to doing the dishes. Does that sound fair?" he whispered in my ear. I managed a nod after a series of shivers had made their rounds down my spine, and I heard a muted chuckle as he let me go, and did exactly as he had instructed. I stared as he deliberately avoided getting too close on his way back from the window, and eventually his hum returned with the sound of flowing water.
I was kidnapped, wasn't I. I was kept against my will in this cozy little household. As I shouted the words internally, I found myself strangely calmed down. At least now I had a root to hold on to. A someplace to belong, to settle and rest.
"Who are you?" I felt my tongue struggle with the sounds, but the meaning was clear enough. It was my first sentence since we met, or at least since I remembered him.
"That's a long story, and I doubt you would even want the full answer." he replied calmly from the kitchen sink, and I turned away from the green view of the outside, looked at his slouched shoulders and broad back. Well, relatively broad. He wasn't a muscle man, more of a relatively sizeable lean guy, taller than me yet no more than somewhere between half and a whole head. His hair strangely fitted with the colours of the room, an ashy dark blonde with nearly white highlights. His eyes were, though they were facing the sink at the moment, a pale green, bordering to a matte jade.
"Then what should I call you?" I asked instead, earning me a chuckle.
"Darling is fine. I have heard of it being a name from time to time." he said, turned around, leaning on the counter. I felt my fingers lightly touching the sill, the two of us a mere room apart, the bed being the main obstacle between us.
"Why am I here?" I kept asking.
"Why else. You almost drowned when I tried cracking a joke." he said. There was that. Why didn't I, though? That river was... fierce. How did he get me out?
"My turn. Are you particularly fond of old names?" Darling asked. I assumed the nickname to be more of a joke, but since I had no better thing to name him I decided to let it be for the time being.
"I don't know what that means." I replied.
"What should I call you is what that means. If it isn't too important that I call you by your name, could I call you Honey?" he said. This was taking a strange turn.
"Sure?" I said, confused by this aloof conversation.
"Or do you prefer Sugar?" he asked.
"Honey is fine." I said. I preferred the former over the latter, mostly because I had better associations with honey in general. I also seemed to remember having known a dog named Sugar once. I was not particularly fond of dogs, a resentment that was mostly mutual.
"Why did you call me your wife... before?" I asked, since it was likely directly linked to why we now knew each other by cute nicknames. Honey and Darling. Darling and Honey.
"You mean when you woke up and got sick?" he asked, took a few steps forward again, carefully reading my reaction as he walked over the area now free of my stomach contents.
"Mhm." I confirmed, my palms supporting me on the sill while he sat down.
"Because it's the safest way of introducing you." he replied willingly. Safest? Did that mean there was an unsafe manner of introduction?
"To who?" I inquired further.
"Oh, people in general. Some take it as a joke, some more serious. No one'll mess with you as long as you're with me." he said, folded his arms and clearly showing off his authority, though his facial expression remained humourous.
"Why? Are you dangerous?" I asked. He seemed jovial and social to me, someone who would fit right in with the crowd. Perhaps was he dangerous, but he was doing a decent job masking this fact.
"To some." he confirmed.
"How did you save me?" I continued asking, remembering the white froth and icy water. Saving me should have been impossible.
"I swam. You're a lousy swimmer, by the way." he replied, not at all seeming like this was strange.
"I was tired." I defended myself, since I thought he was taking it a little too granted that smimming through rapids was highly doable.
"Then you should've stayed clear of the river." the boy stated, his brows meeting for a moment in a indignated furrow.
"..." I opened my mouth, but though his argument was on the ridiculous side, he had a point. Trying to wash a wine-stained shirt at sunset in the middle of a forest was more than a little foolish. But then again, by working that argument, I could say a thing or two about the incredulous coincidence of someone besides a crazed axe murderer happening to be in the vicinity, an able bodied champion swimmer with a soft spot for girls wandering aimlessly in the middle of nowhere. Again the possibility of this being a kidnapping occurred.
"I'm glad you're talking. I got worried when you kept turning slightly suicidal whenever I did something." he added when it was clear that I had no particular argument to come up with.
"I'm not..." I started to protest, but I was not allowed to finish the sentence.
"I know." he said with a softer grin, before it left his face in favour of more serous furrows.
"Who hurt you?" he asked, reeling off the safe and casual topics in that instant.
"Huh?" I said in confusion, realising where this was going but not being quite willing to go there.
"I want to know who hurt you." my Darling repeated, placed his feet firmly on the ground so that he could reach me in a few determined strides if need be. The move, if seemingly innocent, was stressing me out more that I would like to admit.
"No one." I tried saying, indicating my unwillingness to continue down that road through my tone.
"But you're afraid." he said, ignoring my indication.
"I don't know you." I said, tried steering it back to him instead.
"You're afraid of me too, granted. But it isn't me you really fear." he said, stated the truth in my veer, yet got us right back on track afterwards.
"Why do you say that?" I asked, folding my arms defensively, feeling my buttocks against the sill.
"Who hurt you?" he repeated.
"Why do you need to know?" I finally gave in, and went for a more direct approach. Why did he need to know such a thing?
"So I can kill them." he stated calmly. It was not a joke. There was no humour in his voice, no silly smile or glinting eyes.
"What?" I questioned his sanity as well as his understanding of what he had just uttered, allowing him a chance to retract his words. Or had I heard wrong?
"You heard me." he said. I was out of words. This guy was quite possibly psychotic.
"You're my wife now. I'm not that much of a forgiving guy." he added. Did that mean that I was in a bad position as well? Was my puking all over the floor a possibly fatal mistake? Should I try to force open that window and try to make a run for my money, or in this case, life?
"Some people are coming over later on. Just so you know." the man said, the seriousness leaving like the sun on a cloudy day. He was a fickle one, I'd give him that.
"People like you?" I asked, not quite able to shake off the terror from before. I did not feel entirely safe around him, despite his efforts to be nice towards me. Promising to murder people could do that to new relationships.
"Not many people are." he said, go up, stretched and yawned in a lazy manner.
"Are they dangerous?" I asked. Dealing with a whole group of psychotic killers may be more than I could handle, despite my numbness.
"Can be." he said, sent me a side look.
"Where are my clothes?" I asked. Perhaps would it be best if I just gathered my belongings and ran. Wait. Come to think of it... these were not my clothes. White. Comfortable. Similar to the bedsheets. Clearly designed to fit him. I felt small in them. Small and helpless.
"Burned." he said, his eyes expressing a silent challenge, as if he knew what my intention was should I get hold of my own very filthy - and evidently no longer existing - clothes. Oh, he knew that I was thinking about fleeing, alright. But if they were burned...
"My..." I stopped, felt my hands roaming the loose fitted fabrics, searching for...
"Your other belongings are safe." he added when he realised. The small metal wallet for one. It housed more than just the average plastic moneyholder and power-bestower, the latter being a fun way of stating my not-underage-identification, allowing me power over my own decisions.
"The staff is mostly downstairs, so when they arrive you'll remain undisturbed as long as you stay on this floor. This is my private floor." the man said, indicating this humble abode. I assumed there to be more rooms, or he wouldn't have called it his private floor.
"Why are you doing this?" I asked. If I under some strange circumstance came upon a lost soul wandering the forest, chances would have it that I would not rescue mentioned soul, bring it home to my private quarters, feed and clothe it, and then announce it my spouse.
"Because you're my wife." he said matter of factly. But I wasn't, was I? He said it was the easiest way to introduce me, insnuating that it was a deliberate con.
"You don't know me." I argued, but he just smiled.
"I'm getting there. Knowing people in general is a constant working progress." he said, nearing once more, closer this time than before. I felt the cool glass against the back of my head as he leaned forward, his matte jade eyes reflecting the sunlight outside. Our foreheads met, and I stopped breathing.
"As I thought. You have a fever." he breathed His lips were round. Having a comparison stored in my memory this time, I would have to admit that Drew lost in scrumptiousness, though these lips bore signs of scarring. My heart threatened to jump out of my chest in a frantic battle between stress, fear, and the strange exhilaration that followed the pair of them. It was a time for rash and stupid decisions, alright. So before I managed to sensate the armbehind my back, and without heeding the curious glint in the eyes of my captor, I leaned forward, feeling the warmth and softness of his lips, a final memory before my stressed out body gave in to exhaustion, and my muscles decided it was time for me to rest yet again.
It was a desperate howl, a screeching wail for something. Rescue? Death? I did not know, I just felt my body convulsing violently, wanting to break free from whatever was restricting me, while I screamed with the full force my lungs would grant me. I tried getting away from my captive as consciousness made me realise that there was something holding me back, my arms working more intelligently against the...
A well placed elbow fianlly earned me a groan from the one warpping his arms around me, but he refused to let me go.
"Come on, darling, give me a break, will you?" his voice reached through my thrashing, and I finally stopped, our heaving breaths filling the darkness with existence.
"You are surprisingly strong." he commented after a while, and finally let go of me, scooping over to the other half of the double bed. When did we get here? Where was here?
"I'm sorry." I managed to utter as I sat up, trying to look about. The room was roughly the same size as the kitchen, but it wasn't where we were. The rom was dimly lit, a small crack under a door the only source of light.
"No worries. I heal fast." was the reply, before a hand found its way to my forehead.
"Well, your fever finally broke." he continued saying.
"How long..?" the unfinished sentence ended in a questioning rise, and I stared as he with ease navigated through the room, opening the door with the light coming under it, entered a tiled bathroom. I heard the sound of water running.
"It's the middle of the night, so you've been out since midday. I have prepared a bath for you. It'll take a few minutes until its finished, but feel free to stay for a while." he indicated the bathroom with a hand, yawned to emphasise the time of night. He didn't seem bothered by being awoken, though.
"You'll have your privacy, but the door is not lockable. Just in case you do something stupid." he added, headed for a second door, entering the darkness beyond it.
"Where are you going?" I meekly yelled after him. Though he seemed perfectly fine after waking up so suddenly in the middle of the night, I was still groggy and confused. He was the only constant in this reality he was creating around me, and though I still couldn't state that I trusted him completely, I was growing reliant. Had to be a case of Stockholm Syndrome.
"I'm making tea!" was the distant sounding reply.
I slowly lowered my whole body in the sizeable bathtub so my eyes remained just above the rim of water, making bubbles in a slow release of a single breath of air. I had no doubt that Darling would come rushing if I remained unbreathing for too long, so I made sure to make an obvious and easily hearable intake of air for his benefit when my nose and mouth made a reappearance. The room was steamy hot, smelling not so faintly of something distinctly floral. It felt good bathing away my night terror and fevery sweat. It felt like washing away all my past ailments, my past with it, little by little, replacing it with flowery wallpaints and cracked wooden parquet. A box of body scrub washed away my escapades in a far distant house, and my later encounter with Drew. The only thing that didn't go away were the various bruises ony my arms, on my ribs just beneath my breasts, moving to my back, as well as the bruising abrasions all over my general knee area.
Temptation became too great, and I immersed myself completely in the near scolding water, feeling the water against my closed eyelids. To my slight disappointment no one was there ready to pull me out of the tub as I emerged again, feeling ready to face the cooler tiles.