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Bloodflowers Excerpt 13

November 1, 2013

When I open my eyes, though, something feels… off. Something isn’t right. I check the doggy bed by the bay window in the bedroom and see Grunt sleeping. I sit up and see Jeremiah isn’t fully awake, and I watch him sprawl out on his stomach, one leg and one arm hanging off the left side of bed. It’s not graceful by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s definitely damn cute. I can’t figure out what feels so wrong. I check my cell phone, and there are no texts, no missed calls. I rock back and forth on the edge of the bed for a few seconds, trying to figure it out. I’ve been awake for less than a minute, I realize, and I’m headed straight into a full blown panic attack. Shit-hell.

“Shit. Shit. Shit,” I whisper. I scramble to the bathroom and pop a Klonopin. I haven’t had a panic attack in months, have I? No. Not since David showed up. And then it hits me: David is gone. Completely. Totally. Gone. I let out a gasp and struggle to breathe at all. My vision fades, and my legs turn to rubber. I don’t feel it when I hit the bathroom floor.

While I’m unconscious, I dream of Dave. The dream is muddled, fuzzy, but I feel myself wrap my arms around him and plant a kiss on his lips. We’re standing in the nothing space together. He grins, hugs me tightly, and kisses me back. I stop kissing him, but my lips are still touching his when I say, “I love you, David.”

I feel his lips slide into a smile. He hugs me tightly. “I love you, B.,” he tells me. And then I’m holding air. Actually, my arms are wrapped around air. I’m holding a necklace in my left hand, and it’s one I’ve never seen before. It’s woven black hemp cording, with a small locket in the center advertising Witchal’s Witch Hazel. When I open the locket, it contains ashes and two wedding rings. I stare at the necklace, wondering what I’m supposed to do with it other than wear it – surely there’s more to it than that – when the ground beneath me gives way. I grip tightly to the necklace, and I start to fall into nothingness, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop.

When I wake up, Jeremiah is kneeling over me, biting his lip. He looks very relieved when he sees me open my eyes. His hand flies to his heart, in fact, making me wonder if he doesn’t have a flair for the dramatic. “Holy shit,” he says on an exhale of ragged breath. “I seriously thought you were dead, B.”

“Huh?” I ask him, struggling to sit up. I am, after all, a man of linguistic eloquence. I blink a few times. “What the hell happened?” My head is pounding. I don’t know if I have a hangover or if I hit my head on the way down to the bathroom floor. I groan, and then I stare at Jeremiah. “Did you just call me ‘B.’?”

He blushes. “Uh, yeah, I guess I did. I didn’t realize. Should I not?” He looks away from me, clearly embarrassed.

“No,” I tell him, “It’s okay. I just wasn’t sure I heard you right. I, um, actually kind of like it.” David left me a gift to remember him by, it seems. Of course, it could just be a stupid coincidence. I remind myself not to put meaning where there isn’t any.

“Are you okay?” Jeremiah has his eyes locked on mine again, and they’re full of concern.

“Huh? Oh, yeah… I’m fine. I must have stood up too fast or something. I just blacked out. It happens,” I lie. “Help me up?”

Jeremiah smiles at me. “Sure.” He stands, and bends to help me up. I feel unsteady, but ride out a wave of dizziness.

“Thanks,” I smile. I resist the temptation to call him TGB. Morning in my boxers in the bathroom doesn’t seem like the appropriate forum to have to explain the nickname to him if he doesn’t already know about it.

“What’s in your hand?” he asks me suddenly, and I start to tell him, “Nothing,” when I realize that I am clutching a necklace in my right hand. It’s made of woven black hemp cording, and without even opening my hand, I know that it has a locket on it, and I know what is impossibly inside of it.

I struggle to find my voice. “It’s, um, it was, uh, a gift. I thought I had lost it. It was really important to me, but I found it again…” My eyes tear up as my voice trails off.

Jeremiah wraps his arms around me and holds me tightly. “I’m so glad you found it, B.,” he says softly, and he kisses the top of my head. Still holding the necklace, I wrap my arms around him and cry quietly.

“Me, too,” I tell him.

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From → Bloodflowers, fiction

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