The shrill ringing of the telephone breaks into my dream of her, as I touched her face in the sunlight on the day I proposed. I took her hand and asked her to make me the happiest man in the world. She was a goddess, with the sun in her straw blonde hair, the red highlights giving her a halo. She opened her mouth to say “Are you fuckin kidding? Yes! Where’s my ring?” as she had so many times since the first, and instead shrieked, over and over
I sit up gasping and drenched in sweat, my upper body turning to ice in the chill early morning air. The window was open, but I’d locked it, and checked it twice before coming to bed, to fall to sleep and wake in the arms of my sweet Livvie. I grab for the phone, getting tangled in the damned cord again, for the billionth time. Saints be praised when they invent one without a cord.
“ahem…hello? It’s 2:14 am. This better be good.” I snap into the mouthpiece, its weight comforting on my ear. Silence.
“Fuck you. If you are going to call me and not speak then you can damned well do it in daylight,” I spit and slam the receiver down.
I fall back on my bed, heart beating fast in my chest. I can feel her as though she were laying beside me, her hand stroking my hair as she whispers, “go back to sleep, it was just a bad dream.” I try to argue with her, but my eyes close and sleep steals me away.
Daylight comes too early and I groan. pulling the covers over my head and knowing it was no use. I didn’t need my family breaking into my bedroom and finding me hiding from the sun like some kind of vampire. They already think I’m insane for writing my novel about them. “Write a romance! Write a historical book! Hey, how about a kids story?” I was so tired of the well meaning suggestions, but I took them with the intent they were given. Throwing the covers off and peeling my pyjama bottoms off , I head to the bathroom for a quick shower, stepping over the discarded clothing. I lived alone now. I didn’t have to worry about where my clothes went. Or so was the lie I told myself as I scooped them up off of the floor, and tossing them into the laundry basket on my way out. She trained me well.
The phone rings again, as I step into the steaming spray. The heat helps release the bunched muscles in my neck and back. Its hot enough to feel the burn on my skin -washing away the last bits of my dream away. It’s been only months since I lost her, felt her slip away under my fingertips. She’s gone, but I feel her hands on my chest, my waist, oh her mouth…the sensation brings a chill to my skin, making it break out in bumps in spite of the scalding water. Her tongue is sinuous as a snake, dancing along the shaft as she sucks, and I reach out. She is here and I open my eyes as I cum, expecting the soft laugh and smoothness of her skin, and find my self alone. This is getting to be too much.
I shut the water off, standing for a moment with my eyes closed trying to breathe. This isn’t normal, I tell myself. I need help. She’s gone. She left, her body, her life. She can’t be here. The small room is filled with vapour and it hangs in the air as I towel off, the chill that had frozen me in the shower finally dissipating. A strange squeaking sound invades my thoughts, and I turn to the mirror. “I….L…o…v…e….Y…o…u” I stagger, leaning my weight against the closed door and gasping for air. Dear God I’ve lost my mind.
“I love you too,” I speak out loud, the last words catching in my throat as I sink to the floor.
Wiping tears from my face before standing, I pull myself together, and pad to the bedroom to get dressed, trying to clear my mind of what had just happened. How the hell am I supposed to explain this to anyone? My dead wife just blew me in the shower guys… they’d laugh at me and have me on my way to the local nuthouse to be committed. My sisters, maybe. As the only boy in a family of women, they seem a little more open to my ideas than other people. I needed to wait and see what kind of mood they were in…it wouldn’t do to drop this on one who had her teeth bared.
Fifteen minutes later I am composed, dressed and on my way downstairs when the door bursts open and the front hall is filled with the bickering and squabbling sounds of women. Not the good-natured she said-she said bullshit that was the norm, but a real, though low-key argument that seems to be increasing in volume. “No please, come in. I don’t need a hello. By all means, leave my door wide open. Thanks,” I shouted over the din, my deep voice carrying over the strenuous objections that were being voiced at that point, and killing their voices instantly.
“There’s no need to shout Grant. We are in the same room you know,” my eldest sister says seriously, and I stare at her incredulous. Surely she is joking, I think, and am taken aback when she doesn’t crack a smile. Her arms wrap around me, hugging me hard before drawing back and scrutinizing my face for a long moment. Her fingers are cold on my neck as she straightens my collar and steps away, her brow furrowed in concern. “What was that all about,” I whisper in the ear of my middle sister, as she too watches my face before she hugs me and I feel her trembling in my arms as she shakes her head. Her short hair tickles along my cheek before she too steps away and allows the youngest her turn.
My baby sister, all of 5′ 4″ and spoiled rotten by us all sits in Livvie’s chair and it sets my teeth on edge. Her steel blue eyes fall on mine, holding them captive as I feel a nauseating pressure in my head behind my eyes, and I squeeze my lids closed against the overwhelming feeling that she was in my head. “Knock it off. What the fuck is wrong with you. We said no,” my elder sister snaps and the fight was back on. “Oh Grant,” she murmurs, tears in her eyes as I climb the stairs to my office. They can fight it out without me. Upstairs, I hear Livvie’s voice, calling me back.
The shrill ringing of the telephone broke into my dream of her, as I touched her face in the sunlight the day I proposed. I took her hand and asked her to make me the happiest man in the world. She opened her mouth to say “Are you fuckin kidding? Yes! Where’s my ring?” as she had so many times since the first and her throat was full of gravel as her shredded tongue fell from between her lips and she collapsed face down. I screamed myself awake, grabbing for the phone with my chest heaving. It slips from my hand and hits the floor with a dull thud, and I curse, pulling it back up by that damnable cord and pressing the receiver to my ear. “Yes hello who is this?” A gasp so light I wasn’t sure it is there at all. Silence. “Listen, can I help you?”
“Soon.” A small click and the dial tone filled my head, leaving me confused. I hang up the phone, thinking, wondering, replaying that shuddersome whisper in my head. Something about it niggles, like a barbed fishhook it won’t let go. I fell back on my bed, heart beating staccato in my chest. I can feel her as though she were beside me, her hand stroking. I hear her sweet voice, whispering, and it dawns on me. I try to argue with her, but I can’t catch my breath. She is fire and she has stolen it. “Come home. It’s time.”
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