Rating: M Chapter Two
Hopefully the layout and structure of this chapter won’t confuse or put too many people off. In order to better get into the characters thought processes I felt it necessary to switch to first person. Feedback, as always, is much appreciated.
Beth drove home in a daze, not having any concept of time or place. Parking her car in the garage she made her way up to her apartment, unlocked it and walked in. She placed her keys on the kitchen bench and switched the kettle on. She changed her mind, switched the kettle off and pulled a half empty bottle of bourbon from the pantry. Pouring herself a large glass she walked over to her couch, sat down and took a large mouthful, relishing the burn as it travelled down her throat. ‘Still alive,’ she thought humourlessly, ‘just enough to feel the pain’. The sun had set and the room was shrouded in darkness. Her hand reached out to turn on the lamp but pulled back as if burnt. She wasn’t supposed to be here. No lights, no sign of life, no one home. Leaning her head back she stared up at the ceiling, watching as the lights from the traffic down below reflected up creating swirling patterns on the white paint. The shrill ringing of her mobile broke the silence, startling her. Pulling it from her jacket she read the name on the screen ‘Mick St John’. Her fingers itched to open it, her whole being craving the sound of his voice. She let it ring.
‘Hi, you’ve reached Beth Turner. Sorry I can’t take your call right now but….’ He hung up, not sure what to say when the beep came to leave a message. What about ‘Hey, how are you, is there something you wanna tell me?’ Or ‘I get this strange feeling that something’s terribly wrong’ or maybe even, ‘Hey Beth, my vampire senses tell me that you’re not well’. Maybe he was losing his mind. Maybe he was looking into it too deep and everything was fine. Yet he didn’t think so. He felt it in his gut, as if at a deeper level there was no space between them and her soul cried out to his. He recalled the look in her eyes just before she stepped into the elevator and he cringed remembering the simple finality of it. As if in that one glance she had said goodbye, forever. He tried her number again but got no answer. Would she be on the plane right now? He’d give it an hour, maybe two, and then try again. ‘In the meantime’ he thought sliding into his long overcoat, ‘I think I’ll pay a little visit to Buzzwire and Mo. See what she knows’.
The office was nearly deserted when I arrived. Only a skeleton staff manned the place and I was thankful to see that Mo was one of them. ‘Hey Mick. What brings you here at this lonely time of night’? She was a no-nonsense woman who seemed to be perpetually in motion. ‘I was wondering if you had a contact number for Beth in New York. Something’s come up and I need to speak to her’. She stopped then and looked at me in confusion. ‘New York? She told me she was headed to Miami. Asked for a week off.’ ‘Did she say anything else?’ I asked, feeling a dread settle in the pit of my stomach. ‘Not much. Just that she needed a break. She hasn’t had so much as a sick day since she started working here, so who am I to say no right? Do you think something’s wrong?’ ‘I’m not sure, but I don’t wanna take any chances. You mind if I look at her desk?’ She hesitated for a moment and my mind was already thinking ahead to how I could sneak back in later when she said: ‘Sure. I’m certain she won’t mind’. I thanked her and moved over to Beth’s desk. It’s surface was clean and I felt a strange relief that the picture of Josh that normally sat there was gone. I opened her top drawer and saw the usual stuff, pens, clips, stapler. The second one was much the same, a bunch of office paraphernalia. The third drawer however offered up a simple spiral notebook, it’s green cover marred through good use. I flicked through it hurriedly, searching for something I didn’t know. It was a diary, and many of its pages were filled with appointments and numbers or ideas for possible stories. Her handwriting was flowing, and reminded me of my mother. I found yesterdays date and began to read. 12:30- Dr Westwood. It seemed innocuous enough but I recalled that last look and sensed that the two were connected somehow. There was no phone number or address and I knew it would do no good to ask Mo. Beth was intensely private and drew a fine line between work and her personal life. I replaced the diary and nodded to Mo on my way out. I made it home in record time and booted up my computer. I found him after five minutes and what I read on the screen caused my heart to drop to the floor. Neurologist. I decided then and there to pay a little visit to the Doctor’s office, which at this time of night would be empty. The drive over seemed to take forever and all I could think was ‘Please let her be alright’.
I must have fallen asleep, because I woke up some time later with gritty swollen eyes and in pitch black darkness. I found my way to the shower, stripped off my clothes and let the hot water sooth me as much as it could. Strangely, I felt cold as if all the warmth in my world and my body had left me. Was this how Mick felt? This feeling of utter desolation and hopelessness? I was crying again, thinking of how much suffering he had and would go through in his long life. I prayed that he’d forget me quickly and that my memory wouldn’t haunt him. As much I regretted never having told him that I loved him, I understood that it was probably a blessing. The water went cold and I wrapped a towel around my body and headed for my bedroom. Reaching into my closet I found the small bundle on the top shelf that I had placed there a few months back. Carrying it over to my bed I pulled back the paper sheeting and removed a single item of clothing. A shirt. Mick’s shirt. The one I’d woken up in after my experience with Black Crystal. Bringing it to my nose I inhaled, smelling familiar scent that always managed to drive me crazy with wanting and needing. The towel dropped to the carpet and I slipped the shirt over my head. It felt cool against my skin and I felt tears roll down my face. Strange how different emotions can take up residence at one time. My heart was broken, my life all but over, and yet here I was feeling an almost uncontrollable urge to tear the shirt from my body and rip it into a million pieces. My legs suddenly gave way and I collapsed to the ground, my energy and will depleted. I lay there for a long time until eventually, mercifully, sleep claimed me once more.