Hello, all... here is a preview of a continuation on chapter seven. a glimpse into the final hours of Alex. I hope you enjoy, and more to come. Editing and new chapters are coming up quickly. bless your little hearts. later ~b
Chapt. #7 cont'd -
I heard the bathroom's linen closet door open, and it was then a jarring spasm strummed my spine much like a prickly handed harpist would harmonize to a grisly orchestra of sorts. The distinct pains shot through me and froze me cold and listless as I listened to his clothes swish to the bottom of the hamper. As he removed his wedding ring it hit the floor, 'Cling, clang, cling, cling!' My nerves so piqued at the time, it sounded as though a thunderous clang had echoed against my bathroom walls.
Carefully I peered around the corner and caught Alex trimming his goatee in the bathroom's vanity mirror. Once I realized how close he really was, my breath became shallow and quickened. As I slowly shifted myself back toward the wall, Alex turned on the shower and then returned his gaze to the vanity mirror inspecting his aged complexion. A soft rush of plunging droplets hit the porcelain tub, and filled the room with a light cloud of steam and a calming hush of cascading water funneled through the drain. The moist air consumed the bathroom's sparse space within seconds and its wetness pierced my then distressed lungs.
I tried to focus on my next seemingly impossible task, as I attempted to tighten my clammy palms around the knife's slippery rubber grip. Fear had struck a lightning bolt of trepidation through me and left me frozen in a momentary spell of panic. I attempted to hush my quickened breaths. Then it just happened, once I tightened my grip on the knife's handle I hastily lunged forward. Abruptly I hit the adjacent wall jarring my naked body and then suddenly, before I knew it...there I was, directly in his view.
Once Alex looked over at me, he appeared baffled with his bushy untamed eyebrows angled upward with a toothbrush hanging from the side of his mouth. You'd think, at that very moment, my bare quivering frame would have made me feel the most vulnerable I had ever felt. However, at that moment, it was in fact my fear of failure. My fear of failing a task that could not be abandoned. My reluctant leap that thrust me forward, revealed my truest intentions...there was no turning back.
We stood amongst the steamy bathroom fog that was gradually lifting as I intently stared into his eyes. When his eyes stared back into mine, I could sense their disbelief and betrayal; I recognized the look because I had felt the same for far too long. At that very moment, I had not expected my sentiment to be sheer joy yet it enraptured me. It made me feel like I had lost all control, and yet there I stood, proudly grinning.
He stood before me, mouth agape, when I hastily lunged forward cutting the thick air with the blade's razor sharp tip. Only my momentary hesitation gave him time to react as he continued to leap back from my failed attempts. Foolishly, I had abandoned my original plan to attack from behind,and for that I would pay the price.
He began to yell as I watched him jump back from the knife's edge, “What the fuck are you doing, Mira? You really think you are going to get away with this?!”
I didn't answer him, I continued to lunge forward with wide desperate swings, my arms wildly flailed, and my body quickly advanced toward his. With a pitiful sense of determination, he spat his toothbrush onto the floor and stood obstinately before the knife's point as it thrust straight toward his rotund gut. Impulsively, he grabbed the blade with both of his hands, cinching the blade with the meaty flesh of his bare palms. Blood began to drip from his grasp as he stood clasping its edge. His gaze shifted to the wall directly behind me, his eyes rolled back and seemed to touch the back of his brain. With his teeth tightly clenched, his eyes swiftly widened with a furious rancor. Instantly, he was a man who had become completely unhinged.
With his teeth clenched and bursts of mint scented saliva spewing from his lips, he finally met his eyes with mine when he said, “You sick twisted bitch, is this how you are planning on killing me? You better have something better planned than just a knife. You've got to be kidding me! You think you're gonna be the new sheriff in town now?! Is that why you want to get rid of me?! You got it licked around here, you dumb bitch!”
I continued to struggle as I attempted to tear the knife's razor sharp blade from his grasp. As the blood continued to pour from his wounds, his ferocious tenacity shocked me. Certainly by now his palm's searing lacerations were unbearably painful, but despite the pain he continued with incantations of profanity; all while grasping that blade. There seemed to be no sight of his waving white flag.
With his unflinching eyes, and his relentless grasp he pulled me closer toward him and said, “You think this hurts me, you bitch? You just wait till I put it straight through your stomach?! I will gut you like a pig! You are nothing but a pig. A dirty rotten pig! You got that?!”
Just then I noticed at the base of the knife, just above where his hands were clasped, his blood oozed and pooled along the grip like a thick burgundy jelly. The blood gradually pushed up between his fingers, dripped between his hairy toes and slowly pooled onto the floor beneath him.
For what seemed like several minutes, I watched him struggle to keep his foothold; and I knew at all costs he could not wrestle the knife free. Oddly, the sheer might of his grasp and his masochistic tug o' war with the knife's blade seemed to aid my endeavor. Without much warning, his upper body began to shift as his feet awkwardly shifted beneath him. Violently he fell to the floor, both knees simultaneously smacking the hard surface of the slick bathroom floor. A deafening crack followed as his knees met the unforgiving surface, 'Crackkk! Crackkkkk!'. Then in what seemed like a millisecond, he had pulled himself to his feet by the surface of the blade. He jolted upward miraculously regaining his foothold on the blood drenched bathmat.
Then with every last ounce of might I had within my upper body, I struggled to pull his body toward mine. Unknowingly, a steady stream of tears had begun to flow down my cheeks and onto my moist breasts. My body seemed to violently shake with either fury or determination. It was a sensation I will never fully understand, but I knew it was a fight I could not lose despite how vulnerable I appeared. With both my arms and upper body trembling with exhaustion, I continued to thrust myself backward against the force of his grip. Somehow, I had managed to pull him closer despite the consuming weariness I felt in all my muscles and joints. I think what I felt was a mix of exhaustion and pure adrenaline coursing through every ounce of blood.
To my surprise, at that moment I was struck with an unfathomable courage, my voice rendered a wavering inflection as my eyes stared directly into his.
My face merely inches from his own, when I said, “You were never the sheriff in town, you were never anything but a coward. Payback is a stone cold bitch and she's here to collect.”
My words seemed to incense him when he released one hand and frantically swung his fist toward my left temple; all futile attempts that appeared to leave him drained as his breaths swiftly became hastened. I cocked my head backwards to avoid his swings, making sure never to release my grip.
I can only imagine what happened next to be a surge of unmitigated madness masked with surreal joy. I craned my head backward and bellowed out laughter that seemed to erupt from the very tips of my toes. I continued to pull him toward me and then for reasons I cannot explain, during a completely unreasonable moment, I closed my eyes.
With my eyes tightly clasped, I saw in my mind's eye, an image of my Grandfather, Antonio; I hadn't seen him since he passed, nearly ten years ago. Yet, he was an image that appeared so real to me that day, one that seemed I could smell and touch. As he drew closer to me, I could see the worn pattern of his tweed jacket, the hard lines of his face and the smell of his sweet pipe tobacco that wafted by on a subtle breeze. He approached me with his hand outreached and gently placed it on mine.
Where I stood was a serene meadow on what seemed like a spring day; like something out of a magazine. I didn't recognize the place, but for the time I felt safe. When he approached he sat with me on a tree stump amongst a field of lavender and grain, a billowing willow tree sat on the horizon about a hundred feet to our left. We sat peacefully for a few moments. Today I cannot recall what it was we spoke of but I remember watching him smile so wide, his crow's feet nearly touched the tips of his ears. I simply kissed the hand he placed on mine, and we sat and enjoyed the intoxicating smells of lavender and berry.
Abruptly, there was a shift in the air, any sound that may have naturally occurred in such a place was hushed by a crescendo of moans that seemed to be drawing near and then grew to a deafening growl. I saw the worry in my grandfather's eyes, and instantly his eyes and touch made me feel like a small child as we embraced. The sound emanated from the horizon, where the beautiful billowing willow tree stood serenading our scenery. Sadly its beauty was slowly being consumed by a foreboding cloud, right before our eyes... until there was nothing left but a black void.
The darkness grew quickly and continued to grow, drawing closer to where we sat as lines of thick charcoal infiltrated the field's grain. The black melted along the horizon like thick wax streaming along a slanted picture frame; until we could only see hints of bright gold where the grain once was.
A deep unsettling sound then averted our eyes to the sky as a flock of birds emerged from where the willow tree once sat. As they flew overhead, their wings harmonized an ominous tone, 'Woooooosh Woooooooosh Woooooooosh'. As their wings cut through the clear blue sky, instantly their path turned a swampy grey. In a state of disbelief, again we both watched the gaping blackness consume the hillside.
He looked at me and said, “Mira, do you see that stream just beyond the hill?”
He pointed to a stream beyond a long decrepit stone wall that was speckled with glistening flecks of slate; a stone wall that seemed to dissect the land from a pasture of green hills with a mirror like stream running through it that reflected the midday sun.
Despite how he insisted, I found it harder to concentrate on anything but the looming blackness that drew closer as we spoke. He grabbed both of my arms and looked me in the eyes as I simply stared back at him in disbelief. With a distinct degree of urgency he shook me to awaken me from my trance. It seemed so real, those images, and the blackness on the horizon left me feeling helpless.
With no response from me, he began to raise his voice when he said, “Now you listen to me and answer me when I ask you something, girl! Do you see that stream beyond the wall?”
The wind blew harder, stray debris and lumps of grass began to kick up and swirl madly until they snapped in our faces, making the conditions even harder to ignore.
He continued to insist, “DO YOU HEAR ME?!”
I finally replied, “Yes, grandpa yes! I hear you Jesus Christ! What is it already?!”
He scolded me for taking the Lord's name in vain and then lifted his boney liver spotted hand to point where the blackness grew.
He said, “Never mind that stream for a moment, we've wasted too much time. You see that evil over there on the hill? It's only there if you want it to be. It's only there because that's what you want to see, Mira. Stop this now, be brave!”
I nodded and he continued, “God showed you this place today, not me. I believe he wants you to see and feel what peace you can and should have. I have no regrets but for wishing I had more moments to spare; like right now. Don't live with regrets, Mira. It's time for you to go and move on from this.”
I replied, “I know grandpa, I'm just scared. What happens if I fail? I'm afraid of failing this and then I fail my children, I can't go to prison over this!”
He shook my body, when he grappled with my trembling arms then looked me in the eyes when he shouted, “NOW STOP THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU MUST DO THIS!”
I began to assure him, “Ok, I know, you're right...”
He interrupted, “Shutup and listen, girl. I told you we don't have much time, and I got more to say!”
So I did, finally I just listened, and momentarily the growls seemed to cease. I finally stood and listened, as I took in the sweet berry scented tobacco that clung to the air around us; a smell I remembered from childhood. A smell that always reminded me of him when I was lucky enough to enjoy the warmth of its familiarity.
He said, “Now Mira, you see that stream beyond the rocks?”
Finally, I replied, “Yes, Grandpa, I see it.”
The he said through a smile and slight chuckle as he turned his eyes toward the stream, “That's where I spend most of my days, and fish for as long as I please. That's where I sit for hours remembering the days with my family, our family, wishing I had enjoyed every moment I was granted; only a hundred times more. If that's even possible, because I loved my life. We made great stories together. Make great stories now, Mira. Let this go.”
He continued with a reassuring tone, “Get rid of the evil, Mira. You will not regret it, and someday...when you need me, I will be right there, by the river. But for now, you finish this. Be a brave girl.”
He released my arms and nodded at me with approval, and that's when I turned to walk from him. As I walked away, I turned back to look at him just one more time. I smiled at him as he stood in that field with a trailing blackness behind him; briefly he waved me on and then folded his arms gently rubbing the scuffed leather patches on the elbows of his worn suit coat. As I continued to walk down the meadow's path, wisps of long grass and grain tickled my ankles. It was then I felt as though I left behind all guilt and regret; I left it behind in that meadow along with the murky gaping void.
Abruptly, with my next step, it felt as though the birds above had plummeted from the sky when I was sheathed amongst their unsettling familiar sound I heard moments before, 'Wooooooosh! Wooooooosh! Woooooooooooooooosh!'. I felt like I was falling when my eyes fell blank and the distant growls dissipated into a swirling breeze. Swiftly, as though not a second had passed, there I stood... in my bathroom, struggling with that knife. In fact, my eyes were still set on the ceiling above.
Quickly, I snapped my head down to gain my bearings, and stared directly at my husband and grunted as I pulled his body toward mine with the knife's slippery grip.
Desperately, I struggled to bring his body closer to mine. As I pulled the louder I groaned, 'Arrrrrr, Ahhhhhhhhh, Arrahhhhhh, Ahhhhhhhhhhh!'
My feet began to slip when the slick underside of the bathmat began to shift against the damp floor. Yet, I continued to insist and pulled him closer as his thick maroon blood drenched the rug beneath. An earthy smell of sweat and blood clung to the moist air that beaded along my arms and chest. I knew I had pulled him as close as he would come, and between us the bathroom's thick fog had dissipated only briefly; enough for me to look straight through him and absorbed trembling fear through his grasp.
I managed to pull him a few inches closer when I whispered in his ear, “And now it's time for you to go.”
Then I released the knife's grip.
I watched as he plummeted backwards with great force, head first on the wall across from the bathroom door. His relentless fortitude in grasping for that knife's edge aided his ultimate loss. Then I stood on the blood drenched bath mat, with dried blood spatter on my shins and ankles staring over at his slouched frame. As the moist bathroom fog continued to lift from the space between us, I drew closer to study his helpless state. His head was slouched forward onto his chest and the very tip of his inadequate penis peered up at me, like a very sad little face.
Standing over him, I lurched my hand upward and swiftly brought it down slapping him across the face leaving a distinct red mark in the shape of my fingers and palm. I laughed at the sound and the sight of the impression on his cheek. Then I pried the knife's blade from his ground chuck palms, and washed it clean of blood under the running shower head. With my blade clean I walked back over to Alex and placed its shiny edge just beneath his nose, when an opaque steam spread along the blade's surface. Of course he was still alive, surely a little bump to the head wasn't going to rid me of my monster.
Completely exhausted I reluctantly dropped the knife to my feet. I could have easily slit his throat as he laid there defenseless, but I felt there was no sport in that. I yearned to watch the last drop of life funnel through his eyes. Much like droplets of water cling to a spider's intricately woven web, then slowly dissipate till there is nothing left but white. Truly, now it was only the anticipation that kept the task exciting. It was my plan to let him rest, because in the morning we would spend more time together.
I leaned down far enough to kiss the blistering palm mark on his face, when I said, “Tomorrow we will have our own secret accord, darling. But I'll make it look like an accident. You rest up, sweetheart. ”
With what seemed like a hastened jolt to shake the pain from his heavy eyes, Alex awoke from unconsciousness at approximately 0600 hours. Alex stiffened his body amongst a downy comforter encased with a blood encrusted thick black refuse bag. Frantically, he looked down at the moistened bloody bag that clung to his skin. When he attempted to lunge forward the clang of handcuffs rattled against the headboard's frame and lightly chaffed his fattened wrist. With his free hand he grasped what little hair remained along his receding hair line desperately scanning the room.
I sat in the far corner of the room, far enough out of his reach and barely within his view. He continued to struggle, attempting to release his arm as he winced in pain. While he was unconscious, I had dressed the deep wounds on his hands, but surely the pain was overwhelming as he had lost considerable blood. Then He turned his free palm toward his face and brought the gauze covered wound to his mouth and clenched a free strand with his teeth, in an attempt to expose his wounded hand.
Instantly he froze when I said, “I wouldn't take that off if I were you. It's a pretty deep cut, and really you should have stitches. The dried blood and bandage is the only thing stopping the blood flow...well, for now. You really messed up your hands, moron.”
He jerked his head to the corner of the room where I sat, with his right eye peering as far as it could without bulging from his skull. As he tried to lunge forward, a metallic thunder caught him when the chains quickly snapped him back to where he sat.