Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten

A Chapter by Raven Starhawk

Chapter Ten

     1

Hell is now reality and your friends are the pawns within.

     As the voice rang in her head pain ripped open Brenda's back, climbed to her shoulders and then her neck. A bitter taste of bile leapt in her throat. She sat still, trying to figure out who or what she heard.  Perhaps it had been a daydream or her mind playing tricks.  It wouldn’t have been the first time.

No one could ever live life happily ever after. As she sank to her knees crimson trails spread under her; her precious life fluid filling the cracks on the floor. Now as she grew weary and sluggish with fatigue she reached for a door. Try as she might, there was no more reason to fight. Her dream was gone; shattered by one fool's nightmare in one winter's night.

Her eyes flew open. She sat up. The soft purplish glow outside made her eyes narrow. What time was it, she wondered as she examined the sky. The window had been placed in poor view of Fourth Street, not to mention a towering second apartment building. She had always kept the curtains drawn but if she slanted just so while taking her baths she could see just between the cracks and find herself a sliver of sky.

 Brenda stood, stepped out onto the bath mat and reached for a towel as it lay folded over a rack. She covered her nudity with it, wrapped it tight around her and drew apart the blue lace curtains. Indeed it did appear as though night had begun to fall. But that would have meant she had been soaking for over two hours.

She looked at her fingers. They were pruned. She pressed her ear to the door and listened. It was quiet. She arched a dark eyebrow and chewed her cheek. Maybe he was taking a nap. He so often did. If that was the case she would count herself lucky. Then perhaps she could fix herself some chow and read a book before his next assault. That was always her favorite time; his naptimes. It was the only time he left her alone and free to do as she wished.

She closed the curtain again, draped the towel back over the rack and carefully stepped into the soothing warm water. She finished shampooing and conditioning her hair, wrung it with another towel and then reached for the same one she use to cover herself with the first time and stooped over to place her bath items back under the cabinet.

Brenda poked her head out into the mini hallway and wrinkled her forehead. From where she stood she had a clear view of the little living room and the adjacent bedroom. He wasn't there. She thought about the kitchen. It was possible Thomas was in there pigging out as usual. She inched around the bend and looked. He wasn't there either. She shrugged. Maybe he went to the store.

She darted back into the bathroom and pushed apart the curtains for the second time. Her heart thudded against her ribs at the discovery his car was still parked in its usual stall.

2

Patty stared. In the weave of shadow and dim moonlight she felt her fingers tingle.  For a moment Brenda was a statue; frozen as though someone paused a movie.  When Brenda came to life her movements played at spasmodic speed as she again consulted the clock. Her thoughts were not her own.  They blended with Patty’s and the world was how Brenda saw it. The civic center should be about ready to close. Brenda figured it might take him thirty minutes to walk home and cringed at the thought of his fat hands pawing her again.

The tick tock of the clock stole her attention. It wasn't as if she was worried, but she had started to wonder where he was. Surely he wouldn't have gone anywhere else and today was his day off unless he got called in. Of course she thought she would have heard the phone ring. She took a seat on the couch. Through the window was a clear view of Broad Street. She didn't know how long she sat there before she realized the lack of activity. Eventually a car would pass, she told herself and waited and watched. Not a single car hustled on the one way street. Maybe if she just gave it a little more time she might see one, she then told herself. But as the minutes turned into hours she climbed to rubbery legs and no longer could ignore the mounting suspicion something was amiss. She stumbled into the hallway and grabbed the phone. She pressed it to her ear and gasped. There was no dial tone. She dropped it and watched it spin and slide until it collided with a corner of wall. There had got to be a reasonable explanation, she told herself and dashed to the closet. She threw open the door, hunted for her shoes and jacket, slipped them on and patted her pocket. The sound of jingling keys jingled her nerves. She shut the door.

"Ronan," Patty whispered.  "What world is that?" Patty asked, following Brenda close behind as she made her exit.

The world of nightmares and horrors; that is the world you have signed up for and rightfully belong to, Ronan replied.

Patty arched an eyebrow as she thought it over. Then again, some may argue that was all there was any more. She shook her head and glanced over her shoulder at the door that seemed to mock her in its shadowy distance. She didn't know what exactly to expect each time she paid a look see its way, but she supposed it was high hopes for something she already knew bared no fruit.

And still the nagging sensation crept over her like a prickly rash. What in the hell could it be? Something surely had her mind in a whirlpool of fragmented notions and silly images of blotched sun and dimming skies. In the midst of the fanning visions rose a wall of fire. It whirred past buildings and people, striking them as though they were paper and burning them to ash in a heartbeat. She shook her head hard this time. That scrambled the forbidding scene.

 

 

 




© 2017 Raven Starhawk



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Added on November 8, 2017
Last Updated on November 8, 2017
Tags: horror, fiction, fantasy, Chapter, Armageddon