Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen

A Chapter by Ocularfracture

Miranda and Floyd plan a moon picnic after a hard day of cleaning, to help lighten Floyd's mood after Alice has refused to see them.


It is remarkable how quickly time passes when you know that something great can only last so long.

It was always this way when I was young and my grandmother would visit from several states over. She would only stay for one week out of every year, and I remember those being the shortest weeks of my life.

When you’re bored and all you want is for the days to pass quickly, they seem to drag on forever. But when you’ve got something great that you know is only going to last for a limited time, it’s as though someone hit the fast forward button on your pathetic life, drawing you closer and closer to the time when you’re sure you’ll have to give it all up.

This has been great in the way of my new job, however. My days of cleaning seem to zip by in my anticipation to get off work and go home to hang out with my new best friend.

But sadly, our evenings seem to slip past just as quickly, and before anyone has a chance to breathe, a week has nearly passed, and I find myself scrubbing the floor of a fancy condo all by myself on a bright and humid Friday, wishing I could control the speed of time.

For the last six days, Alice has refused to see us when we come to visit. After the first few days of trying, we just gave up, deciding that it’s better if we just leave her alone and let her get the rest that she needs.

Because of this, though, Floyd’s mood has been less cheerful, and most evenings, we just sit and watch TV in silence, as we eat our dinner.

I look at my watch, sighing in relief as I realize that my day of work is finally about over, and I finish scrubbing the floor, trying my best to do a good job while working as quickly as possible.

Floyd needs a mood adjustment, and I’ve had all day long to ponder about this and mull it over until deciding on something great.

Finishing up the floor, I stand and begin putting away all my supplies as sweat drips down my spine.

All the sprays, all the disinfecting wipes, the sponges… All the rags and brushes, they go into a large, black basket, which I haul out to my car and place in the back seat. Next, I bring out the vacuum and pop it into the trunk before returning to the house to drop off the key.

“Thank you,” says the condo’s owner, a short and scrawny lady with long, scarlet hair. “And thank you for all your hard work. Please take this, and have a good weekend.”

She hands me an envelope which I take, thanking her, and slip it into my apron pocket as I leave to get back into my car.

As I step out the door, I notice for the millionth time, that obnoxious white car, parked across the street.

This is not a coincidence. This is just downright insane, and I know that someone is following me. Filled with rage, I grab a paint scraper out of my cleaning caddy and march across the street, banging on the window of he driver’s side.

“Hey!” I shout. “Who the hell are you, and why are you following me!?”

Nothing happens, and it’s difficult to see anything through those dark, tinted windows, and so I bend in close, cupping my hands around my eyes to peer inside.

The car appears to be empty. There is no one inside.

Shaking slightly, I glance around, hoping for any sign of the person maybe lurking in the bushes, or behind a tree.

I see no one, however, and so I sigh heavily and trudge back to my car, where I get in and start the engine.

Maybe the car is just a coincidence. Maybe it’s not even the same car, and maybe I’m just being paranoid. After all, it’s not like I ever took the trouble to make note of the license plate number, which would have been smart if I really wanted to know whether or not someone was stalking me.

I back out of the parking lot, trying to get my bearings.

It’s fine. I’m fine. I’m just being paranoid because I haven’t gotten my grip on things yet.

I’ve had way too much excitement in the past few weeks, without much time to catch my breath. That’s all this is.

In the back of my mind, I wonder if maybe I do need to join Alice at River Ridge.

It’s not that I’m going crazy… At least, not in the way that Alice seems to be going crazy. But I could probably really use some time away from everything, where I could get some rest and just get a firm handle on everything that’s been going on around me.

My life feels more like a television show. It feels like something that I’m watching, but not actively participating in.

Everything that happens feels like it’s happening in some far away place and I’m just observing from a dark room with no doors and no windows, so dark and so cramped that the only thing I can see is the screen with my so-called life playing out before my eyes.

 It’s no way to live.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that having myself locked away in an institution wouldn’t really be much better.

I have always been a person who rather values her freedom, and any time that I feel restricted in any way, I begin to break down. I’d much rather be free to roam around and do what I like, being able to see Floyd any time I like, rather than only during visiting hours.

Remembering Floyd, I pull out my cell phone and dial him up as I sit at a stop light, waiting and waiting for it to change so that I can drive.

Floyd answers, his voice quiet.

“Hey,” I say. “It’s me. I’m off work now.”

“Cool,” says Floyd. “Were you wanting me to come over, then?”

“Actually, I had a better idea. You’ve been acting a little… oh, what’s the word? Grim? You’ve been acing a little grim this week, so I thought maybe we could do something to cheer you up a bit.”

“Oh, yeah?” Floyd’s voice is slightly merrier already. “And what would that be?”

“Well… I thought we could have a picnic,” I say as the light turns green and I step on the gas.

“A picnic? Isn’t it a little late for that?” he asks. “I mean, it’s going to be getting dark really soon.”

“Exactly,” I chirp. “This won’t be an ordinary picnic. Did you notice? The moon’s going to be full tonight, so I though we could have a moon picnic!”

Floyd laughs a bit, bringing a smile to my face.

“What the hell’s a moon picnic?” he asks.

“Oh, it’s this thing that Alice and I used to do, back in the day. On full moon nights, we’d sneak out of the house and go have a little picnic in the park. It’s a lot of fun.”

“Sounds cool,” he says. “But parks around here close early.”

“Yes, I know. We won’t be going to a park. I have a much better plan.”

“You’re just full of plans tonight,” says Floyd, a smile in his voice. “Alright then, lay it on me. Where are we going?”

“I thought we could go to Lake Boise and sit on the bottom of the lake. See, the lake doesn’t close, and no one’s going to be around an old, dried up lake after dark, so it’s perfect.”

“That, uh… That actually sounds pretty cool,” he says. “And hey, I’m sorry that I’ve been acting so stupid this week. I’ve just…” Floyd sighs. “I’ve had a bunch of crap on my mind, is all.”

“I know you have,” I assure him. “I know. And to be honest, there’s been a lot piling up in my mind as well. That’s why I think we need to just go out and have a good time tonight and forget about everything that’s bothering us. Just… breathe.”

“Well, I can’t argue with that,” Floyd sighs. “So, what all should I bring to this ‘moon picnic?’”

“Not too much. I’ll bring the food as long as you bring the blanket, and that’s all you really need to bring.”

“Well… I can think of a couple more things that might make it a little more fun,” he says. “So, what time should I meet you there, and stuff?”

I think.

“Well, I’m gonna go home, shower and change, and then I’ll make up some food to bring along. I can see that taking about two hours, so… How about we plan for eight?”

“Eight’s great,” says Floyd. “This will be interesting.”

“It will be fun,” I tell him. “Trust me.”

“I’m sure it will. Bye, Miranda.”

I say goodbye and hang up the phone as I pull into my driveway, taking the keys from the ignition.

For a moment, I just sit in the car, head back, taking a small rest. This day has been hard, comparatively. Not as hard as the first day, but compared to the rest of the week, it’s been hell. And not because the house was an utter pig sty, but because the woman living there did not believe in air conditioning for some idiotic reason, and I spent the entire day sweating to death.

Feeling sticky and disgusting, I slip out of the car and skulk into the house, where I take off my uniform and toss it in the laundry before jumping into an ice cold shower.

Normally, the freezing water would make me crumble, but for some reason, today I welcome it. The temperature seems to make me feel cleaner than the hot water would, and I find myself taking longer in the shower than I had intended.

If only Lake Boise was still an actual lake. I would be glad to just skip the picnic and dive into the water. Sweating for so long, all I want to do is just stay submerged in the water.

But as I look at the clock on the wall, I notice that I’m already going to run late if I don’t get out now, and so reluctantly, I turn off the water and step out onto the bathmat, grabbing my towel and working it through my hair and across my body, getting as dry as possible.

I really want to blow dry and straighten my hair, but thanks to my insanely long shower spree, I’ll be lucky if I even have enough time to get dressed and pack some food.

I run some straightening gel through my hair before pushing it back with a cheap, plastic headband.

It will be dark at the lake, so it doesn’t matter if I look like a monster or if I look like a princess. No one will know the difference, and no one will even be there to care anyway. It’s not like Floyd gives a damn what I look like.

I shrug and step away from the mirror, heading out to the kitchen where I grab a tote bag and set it on the counter.

From the refrigerator, I pull some sandwich makings, a bottle of apple juice, and some grapes that would go uneaten otherwise.

Stuffing the juice and grapes into the bag, I grab the bread and extract several pieces, smothering them in mayonnaise before slapping on a slice of turkey and Swiss cheese each.

I don’t really know how much Floyd likes to or is capable of eating, so I make a total of six sandwiches, all sealed up inside little plastic baggies and stack them up inside the tote bag.

Juice, grapes and sandwiches… Is that all? Is it enough?

I think hard, looking around the kitchen and find a couple bags of potato chips that I don’t remember us buying and stuff one of them into the tote as well.

Deciding that we probably have enough stuff now, I take one last glance at my watch making sure I’m still alright for time. Then, I rush back into the bathroom long enough to pee and apply deodorant and a spray or two of scented body mist.

My hair, I notice, is mostly dry, and only slightly wavy. Smiling, I leave the bathroom, grab the tote bag out of the kitchen and bring it out to the car, where I start the engine and head off toward the former lake.




© 2012 Ocularfracture

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Added on April 10, 2012
Last Updated on April 10, 2012
Tags: psychological, trigger song, music, vision, premonition, friends, mental, crazy psychosis, therapist



Bennington, NE

I've been writing since I learned how. I'm not saying that 5-year-old work was any good. All's I'm sayin' is that the passion has been there as far back as I can remember. My mother always read me sto.. more..