Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

A Chapter by Ocularfracture
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Remy awakens in Sunny's bed, and then leaves the room to find her cooking his dinner.

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When I woke up, it was sudden. For no reason at all, my eyes just snapped open of their own accord. Thinking about it, I didn’t open my eyes because I woke up; I woke up because my eyes opened.

Slightly shocked, I blinked several times, completely disoriented and confused by my surroundings. I was in a room that wasn’t mine. I was in a bed that wasn’t mine. It was completely dark, save for the bluish glow of a television on the wall.

Stretching out my neck, I sat up slowly and squinted around through the darkness.

It was so cold. Pulling the blankets tightly around me, I got to my feet and moved across the room to where several long curtains hung from the ceiling to the floor. The blankets around me were warm, and reluctant though I was to remove any part of my body from my fortress of warmth, I bit my lip and stretched out a hand, moving the curtains aside.

The sun had long since set and all I could see for miles in the distance were the shimmering multicolored specks of city lights.

I pressed myself against the window, welcoming my hand back into the blankets as I gazed out across the city. It was such a beautiful sight; one I rarely had the pleasure to stand and admire, and I found myself wishing that my own house had even half as lovely a view. Despite living on the highest floor of my crappy apartment complex, the view was rather dull-- unsightly, even. Set in the middle of a valley, the view consisted of mainly trees, houses, dumpsters and, of course, the parking lot where my fellow tenants and I left our low budget vehicles. So the one and only advantage to living so god-forsakenly high up was that there was no one above me to stomp around and make loud noises. But even that was made up for in full by the neighbors on every other side of me.

I shook my head and turned my gaze back into the room, still surprisingly confused about where I was.

Under the blankets, I twisted my fingers around nervously, playing with the ring on my left hand.

All at once, my brain woke from its deep sleep, and I remembered Sunny and our long day together. It was her room I was standing in�"her bed I’d been sleeping in.

I dug my hand out from under the blanket to check my watch and found to my own shock that it was after seven o’clock. Just how long had I slept? And where was Sunny, anyway?

Reluctantly, I shed the blankets onto the floor and bent down to pick up my pants. As I slid them over my legs, I thought I heard a small sound come from somewhere else in the house. Zipping my fly, I crept over to the door and opened it just a crack. As I did this, a burst of warm air came through the crack, bringing with it an overwhelmingly savory aroma as though something delicious was cooking.

I pulled the door completely open and started down the hall, following my nose into the kitchen and over to the stove, where a large stock pot sat, simmering happily.

For a moment, I reached out a hand, eager to remove the lid and see what was being cooked. But just as soon, I retracted my arm, realizing that Sunny was nowhere in sight.

“Hello?” I called out softly, looking around through the far archway for any signs of life. “Sunny?” The only response I received was the quiet bubbling sound of the pot next to me. I rubbed my eyes wearily and left the kitchen through the main archway, arriving at the top of the tall, spiral staircase.

“Sunny?” I called again. Descending a couple of stairs, I closed my eyes and listened hard. From somewhere below me, I could hear a slight shuffling sound, like someone moving across the room. I nodded my head, smiling, and made my way down the stairs until I reached the second story of Sunny’s perfect house. Unlike the highest floor, the walls weren’t comprised of floor to ceiling windows, and as I looked around, I realized that there didn’t seem to be any windows at all. This floor of the house appeared to be one large room with a smaller room in the middle�"a sort of giant box with a door. Assuming that Sunny must have been inside the mini room, I headed in that direction, giving the knob a firm tug as I reached it. To my surprise, however, the door was locked tight.

“Sunny?” I called, knocking lightly. “Are you in here? Let me come in…”

There was no answer, but instead, I heard more shuffling, and before I had time to react, Sunny appeared right there next to me in a blue apron covered in white, powdery splotches, her long, red hair tied up in a messy bun.

“Good morning!” she said with a smile. “You sure slept a long time. How’re you feeling?”

I shook my head, blinking hard.

“Where did you come from?” I sputtered. “I thought you were in here.” I indicated the awkward box of a room, tapping gently on the locked door.

Sunny hugged me.

“Nope,” she said. “I was actually around behind it. That’s where I work.”

“Really?” I said, scratching my head. “Well… then what’s in here?”

“Personal stuff!” said Sunny, reaching for my hand and pulling me back toward the stairs. “Let’s go up! I’ve got a nice stew cooking on the stove.”

“Can’t I see what you’ve been working on?” I asked.

Sunny shook her head, tugging me up the spiral staircase.

“I never show off my work until it’s complete. I believe it’s bad luck… Like seeing the bride before the wedding.”

“It’s only bad luck if you see her in her dress,” I said. “And if you happen to be the groom.”

Sunny laughed.

“Well how do you know I’m not sculpting your bride in her dress?” she asked as we stepped into the kitchen. “You won’t know until it’s done. Now have a seat in the dining room, won’t you? I’ll bring you some dinner in a moment.”

Rubbing my eyes, I did as I was told, exiting the kitchen through the flowery archway and sitting down at Sunny’s permanent fixture of a table.

The chandelier above the bowl of fruit was now lit, casting the room in a dim, ambient light which was all but choked out by the floods of darkness seeping in through the giant windows. Looking out at the city, my view was impaired by a feint, glowing reflection of myself, which I turned away from immediately, crossing my arms on the table and resting my head. For some reason, I didn’t want to look at myself.

I was soaked in some strange and murky feeling that I could not seem to understand, no matter how I tried. Somehow, I just felt empty… Guilty, even… As though I’d done something wrong, or had intended to. But as far as I knew, I’d done nothing of the sort, and all I wanted more than anything was for my mind to shut up and take a chill pill. I probably just needed more sleep. Or maybe it was just waking up in a strange place that did it for me.  I didn’t know, and I didn’t have much more time to think about it before Sunny was emerging from her kitchen carrying a painted wooden tray.

“Looks like you need a hell of a pick-me-up,” she said, setting down the tray. “This is my home made vegetable stew. I think it’ll do just that.” Smiling her usual gentle smile, she lifted a green, Asian-style bowl from the tray and placed it in front of me. The steam that rose from the dish billowed up into my nostrils, bringing with it an incredibly savory scent that made me realize, quite suddenly, how hungry I was. Reaching for the bowl, I scooped up a spoonful of the chunky, reddish contents and brought it to my lips where I blew a few times, hoping to cool it down.

I was just about to place the spoon into my mouth when I noticed that Sunny hadn’t touched her bowl yet. Instead, she sat peering at me through the dim light, her hand resting on her chest the way someone who had just been frightened would do.

“What’s up?” I croaked, my voice suddenly hoarse. “Did you poison it or something?”

Sunny laughed, her hand leaving her chest and resting instead on her own spoon.

“Now why would I want to poison you?” she asked, scooping some of the stew into her mouth. I watched as she swallowed and then shook my head, realizing how stupid I was being.

“I just need more sleep,” I told her, shoveling the contents of the spoon into my mouth. The moment the warm liquid made contact with my tongue, all the drowsiness… all the bad feelings and the sleepy stupor were gone. I sat up straight, blinking into my bowl.

“Damn,” I said, swallowing the mouthful. “This is really good! And it’s just vegetables? No animal products at all?”

Sunny grinned, licking off her own spoon.

“What,” she said, “did you think that vegetarians just ate raw carrots all day, and had no taste buds?”

I grinned back, my face reddening.

“Well… I guess, pretty much. I guess I just assumed it was all flavorless salad and tofu. But this is really tasty.”

“Oh yes,” said Sunny, watching with delight as I shoveled spoonful after spoonful of her stew into my face. “Vegetarianism, like sculpting, is a creative art. While raw vegetables are good, it would take more willpower than the average human being possesses to just eat a steady diet of that forever. We seek flavor. We want to be satiated. How do you think the soy burger was invented? There are so many products that you can buy which mimic the real thing, but actually aren’t. And the cool thing is, they taste just as good! And no killing is involved.”

That last sentence pierced me, as I stared into my suddenly empty bowl, feeling as though Sunny had just called me a killer. I straightened up, rubbing my eyes so I didn’t have to look at her.

“You know,” I murmured awkwardly, my stomach swishing its contents around into oblivion, “Isn’t it funny… It costs less to eat unhealthy food than it does to be all vegan & stuff. I mean, vegetables are expensive. I work a minimum wage job, that barely pays my bills, so if I have to choose between a four dollar salad and a ninety-nine cent cheeseburger at Mickey’s, well sorry, but I’m gonna go for the burger, even if it means a little killing is necessary. I mean, it’s a natural part of life. No one scolds lions for hunting zebras…”

I trailed off, expecting Sunny to launch into a haughty retort, listing off reason after reason why my argument was invalid and why I should just keep my mouth shut. Instead, I was confronted with a piercing, awkward silence for several seconds before Sunny finally uttered a single word.

“Lionesses,” she said, and I looked up to see her peacefully spooning the last of her soup into her mouth.

“Come again?”

Sunny smiled, setting the spoon down next to her empty dish.

“It’s the lionesses who do the hunting. Didn’t you know that?”

Looking at Sunny, I felt that time was passing at an abnormally slow rate. I couldn’t be sure how long I sat there with my mouth open before Sunny finally stood and pressed up on my bottom jaw with one finger, forcing it to close.

“Careful,” she said, reaching down and collecting my bowl. “Keep leaving your mouth open and the birds are going to get in and lay eggs. More soup?”

I swallowed, nodding, and watched as she disappeared back into her kitchen of absolute perfection.

Just what it was about her, I couldn’t say, but there was definitely something she did for me that changed everything. Just in the short time I’d known her, I felt as though I’d become a different person, and she seemed so comfortable and familiar, as if I’d known her all my life. At the same time, Sunny was every bit as mysterious as the idea of life after death, and the only thing I knew for sure was that I wouldn’t be satisfied until I knew every microscopic detail about her. But how would I go about getting so much information? It would take a long time, and I was greedy; impatient. I wanted to know everything then and there. By the time Sunny returned with the stew, I felt like a month had gone by, and even though my eyes were stuck on her, I found myself startled when she touched my hand.

“You’re shaking,” she noted, a shade of concern painted across her face. “Is it too cold in here?”

“Sunny,” I said, her inquiry going straight in one ear and right out the other. “Tell me something about yourself. Something I don’t know.”

She cocked her head, releasing my hand and reaching for her spoon.

“What’s with you?” she asked, casually, as she blew on the chunky, red goodness.

Ignoring my stew, I leaned forward, attempting to smile, but judging by the look on Sunny’s face, I must have been failing pretty awfully.

“You’re really cool,” I said, like an idiot. “I want to know everything I can…”

All at once, Sunny’s spoon clattered to the table as she tossed her head back, shrieking with laughter.

“What’s so funny?” I demanded with a frown, as I slowly came out of my trance and rejoined the normal world.

Through dim light, she beamed at me, her eyes glistening.

“Remy,” she cooed, reaching out to touch my cheek. “How much sleep did you get today?”

I shrugged, realizing I had no idea.

“I don’t know,” I told her. “I channel surfed for a long time and got sort of interested into this one show about people with crazy super powers… But I didn’t keep a good eye on the clock.”

Sunny nodded slowly, her hand sliding down from my face and resting on my chest.

“I think you’re tired,” she said. “Let me take you home for the night.”

“But I waited all day for you to come home,” I argued.

Smiling, Sunny shook her head, the hand on my chest sliding down even further to rest on my arm.

“Maybe this was too much too fast,” she said. “Maybe you need to spend some time by yourself for a while and get some real rest.”

I opened my mouth to retort, but before I could find my voice, Sunny’s hand was pressed against my lips, her smile never faltering.

“Sunny knows best,” she said, softly. “We’ll have plenty of time to be together later. Right now, it’s important that you get some real rest so that you can compose yourself. Now go grab anything you might have left in my room, and I’ll get you home.”

Finding myself unable to speak, I simply nodded, rose from my chair, and trudged glumly back to Sunny’s luxurious bedroom to look around.

As I gazed around, I noticed that I’d forgotten to make her bed again, so with all my might, I heaved the heavy pile of blankets up off the floor and tossed them back on the bed before attempting feebly to straighten them out even half as nicely as they had previously been.

With one more forlorn glance around the room, my eyes rested upon the beautifully sculpted doll which I had set down on Sunny’s bedside table. I picked it up gingerly and held it to my chest as I exited the room, taking care to shut the door behind me.

Sunny met me in the hall, her lips curved gently upwards in her usual smile.

“Ready?” she asked, placing a hand on my shoulder.

“Not really,” I admitted. “And… are you really sure you want me to take this?”

I indicated the sculpture in my hands, and Sunny nodded vigorously.

“Yes,” she said. “Absolutely. She’s my gift to you!”

Leaning forward, she planted a soft kiss on my cheek and then grabbed my hand, leading me down the hallway to that fabulous spiral staircase.

We descended in silence, my head swimming with thoughts and questions, none of which I knew how to put into words.

As we reached the bottom floor, I tried to catch Sunny’s eye, but she seemed too busy putting on her shoes to even look at me. Sliding my own shoes onto my feet, I followed her through the door into the dark garage where her car sat, waiting.

“Here,” she said, waltzing over to the passenger side and opening the door for me. I nodded my thanks, before dumping myself inside.

A few moments later, Sunny was back on the driver’s side, pulling open her door and settling into her bucket seat where she started the engine and pressed the button on her garage door opener.

Once she started to drive, I gave up all hope of making eye contact and just sat back in my seat, waiting.

The drive lasted more than 20 minutes, winding through strange parts of town which I had never seen… And somehow, in spite of how much time it took to get from her place to mine, it seemed like we were there in the blink of an eye, and I was completely unprepared to have to say goodbye.

“Here we are,” said Sunny as she pulled into the dingy, old parking lot.

I unfastened my seatbelt, but remained where I was, looking at Sunny once again, in the hopes of making eye contact.

At last, our eyes met, and she smiled, leaning over to kiss me.

“Goodnight,” she said. “Sleep tight, and have sweet dreams.”

Frowning, I reached for the door handle and gave it a good tug, the door springing open and dumping my leg out into the cold parking lot.

The rest of my body followed it, and before closing the door, I turned back to Sunny.

“Was it something I said?” I asked her.

She giggled lightly and shook her head.

“I’m concerned,” she said. “That’s all. Now get up there and get some sleep. I’ll see you again soon. Goodnight, Remy Clover.”

Reluctantly, I closed the door and watched as Sunny’s car disappeared into the night.

I wanted so badly to believe that I hadn’t done anything to screw it up, but I couldn’t get her words out of my head.

“Maybe this was too much too soon,” she’d said.

I kicked myself up the stairs to my crappy, low budget apartment. She was just nice, that was all. I screwed up. I came on way too strong, and before I realized it, I’d scared her off.

As I stepped into my apartment, the first thing my eyes rested on was my collection of anime figurine girls. Was that part of it? Did they make me seem like a desperate loser?

Finding a plastic grocery bag, I pulled each of the figures off my shelf and tipped them inside before tying the bag and stuffing it away in a drawer.

I took one more look at the empty shelf and decided to fill it with Sunny’s beautiful creation, instead. With Ateria, the temptress looking down at me from my shelf, I felt somehow less alone, and so rather than retreating back to my bedroom to sleep, I curled up in my arm chair, fully clothed, and hoped that I would wake up in the morning feeling much less stupid and hopeless.

 

 

 

 



© 2012 Ocularfracture


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Added on June 14, 2012
Last Updated on June 14, 2012
Tags: Remy, Clover, Sunny, Skye, House, Dolls, Figurines, Sculpture, Sleep, dinner, stew


Author

Ocularfracture
Ocularfracture

Bennington, NE



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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..

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