Here is chapter 7 of the “One That Got Away”. I hope you are getting at least a little bit hooked on the story…
Previous chapters and the amazon link to the novel follow the excerpt.
For a few weeks I had no dreams about Roese and friends. I was crazy busy. I was picking up additional shifts at the steak house. I was working long hours almost every day. This was helping my bill situation, but my energy was quite definitely waning. It was a tough job to do day in and day out and I was no spring chicken anymore. The headaches were almost constantly hanging on me now in varying degrees of ferocity. Of course I did not go to the doctor about my previous fainting spell. After a couple of weeks Leigh gave up pestering me on the subject. I didn’t tell her that I was still having headaches. I was also missing my Anna. She enjoyed spending time at Leigh’s house with her cousins, but with me she was becoming more clingy and ornery as my hours at work increased. Sometimes I would have an irrational flutter of panic that I would lose her too. Of course I would quickly dismiss the thought. I would insist to myself that I would never let that happen. At work, I found myself watching for that unusual woman with violet eyes to show up again. But she didn’t. I spent way too much time dwelling over the possibilities of what I could say to her. I had so many questions about the dreams and such. She seemed to know about it. I wanted answers and meaning. I was becoming annoyed at myself for what I viewed as obsessive thinking. This was not typical of my nature and certainly not conducive to anything productive. The shifts and the hungry people and the food and the dirty dishes and the side work and the cleaning all blended together into one seemingly continuous day. Anna and I spent most of my down time lounging in my bed watching cartoons and noshing on popcorn and gummy bears. Sleeping in crumbs and with an occasional stray gummy bear was not my normal forte. One day I actually went to work with a green gummy bear lodged securely in my hair. This was not an easy extraction. The mind numbing routine continued on. My brain became too sluggish to wrap around much else until I had another fainting episode.
I had been schlepping a couple of enormous bags of foul smelling restaurant trash to the dumpster in the rear parking lot. This wasn’t normally one of my assigned duties, but the dishwasher guy was new and was taking forever to finish his responsibilities. I was particularly tired and cranky because my headache was quite fierce on this night. I was in the middle of a mental tirade about how clueless that new kid was when I literally stopped in my tracks. I could have sworn that I saw the violet eyed woman leaning against the fence around the dumpster smoking one of those fancy tipped cigarettes. I almost called out to her, but then I realized how ridiculous it would be that she was there in the first place. As I peered closer, I didn’t see her anymore. Only what appeared to be the remnants of cigarette smoke wafting towards me. I blinked my eyes rapidly and tried to refocus. Was there fog? My vision became blurry and I felt the sensation of falling. I couldn’t feel my hands to put them out to catch my fall. I braced myself inwardly for the impending impact with the pavement. But I felt nothing. From far away kaleidoscope pictures whirled and tumbled into my mind’s eye again. Roese and Ralf, so poignantly happy in each other’s presence. Enchanting sexual scenes flitted before me. Passionate and purposeful discussions between them. Well received performances in a different theatre. From what I could piece together it appeared that Ralf had separated from Robert’s company and had gathered funding from other sources to establish his own playhouse. The shows were very popular and Roese was now playing lead roles. Life seemed happy and fulfilling for the couple until Roese turned up pregnant. Roese became prone to childish fits of anger and jealousy as her condition forced her to the sidelines. Ralf insisted that she rest and that performances needed to continue without her. Roese would not be reasonable. She continually lashed out at her lover and turned to alcohol for solace. She became quite a heavy drinker. Ralf was patient with her tantrums but firmly insisted that the show must go on. The images wound down slowly to a halt and I became engulfed once again in the dim bedroom filled with the death of my stillborn child. I was breathing shallowly. I was infernally hot, but trembling with cold. The blood felt so thick and sticky. I could feel that it was a leak that would not be abated. I was trying to awaken. Forcing my eyes open was almost more than I could bear. I needed to speak. To Ralf. The shame pierced me even in my half conscious state. The room was dark and blurry. The light from the candles seemed to stretch out in beams from their source but didn’t offer any real sight for me. Was it night or day? I thought perhaps I could see a bit of light between the window dressings, but I could not be sure. I struggled to turn my head. It felt heavy as lead. I could vaguely make out Ralf’s shape in a chair, slumped in sleep. My heart ached to see him. I tried to call his name, but only a hoarse croak erupted from my throat. He stirred and adjusted position. Then, suddenly he jolted awake.
“Roese!” He stumbled so quickly out of the chair that it toppled behind him as he knelt at the bedside. He gently cupped my face in his palms.
“Thank the Lord that you have awakened! I was afraid that you would not. They said….”his voice trailed off and he visibly tried to adjust his demeanor. His beautiful eyes were red rimmed from lack of sleep and weeping. His hair was filthy and hung in damp clumps at odd angles. He kissed my forehead and lingered there as if trying to breathe strength into my failing body. It took every ounce of my will power to force my hand to rise up to his cheek. At this, he dropped his head to my breast and sobbed jaggedly.
“Roese, do not leave me. I cannot be without you.” I held my hand upon his cheek as long as I could. Feeling the spark of his being. To keep it for always. My hand dropped suddenly. Ralf lifted his head in alarm and gathered me in his arms.
“Roese, please don’t….you have to…..” I could not hear him anymore. I wanted to tell him again how I loved him, but my lips were silent. I could only gaze at him with luminous blue eyes that were fading. The candlelight seemed to gather around his head and envelope him in a yellow haze. I watched him until he became the light itself.
Then there was blackness. I felt suspended and form free. Endless and timeless. I vaguely wondered if I was dead too. But who was I exactly anyway? These questions somehow did not seem important. After an unspecified amount of time I could see a pinhole size light that grew brighter and larger as I rushed towards it. Swift and windless. With a jolt I realized that I was now looking closely and critically at a set of pale green eyes flecked with brown. The lashes were long and the bridge of the nose was narrow. A strand of straw colored hair wafted into view. I was, in fact, studying a reflection in a silver framed, hand held mirror.
My mouth tasted gravel and blood. Scattered pieces of lettuce and a crushed milk carton stared back at me on the pavement. There was pain in my face and shoulder. I was face down in Jake’s Steaks rear parking lot surrounded by what seemed like a sea of garbage. I lay there for a few moments listening to the silence that was occasionally punctuated by a passing car. A breeze stirred the air and coaxed the milk carton only inches from my nose. Time to get up. I gingerly moved my hands into push up position and winced as I put weight on them. A pair of petite pointy toed boots with a long black skirt hovering over them came into my line of view. I looked up in surprise and confusion to see the violet eyed woman. She was extending her hand to me for assistance. I clasped it gratefully and wobbled to my feet. She placed a diminutive hand on each of my arms to steady me and looked up into my face quite seriously.
“These things that you are being shown are to be shared with another. It has been attempted before, long ago. You will know the other when it is right. But be aware that your time is limited.”
I held her eyes silently. All questions and comments that had been stewing in my mind evaporated. I became sure that I had seen this woman before in a different setting. I soaked in her presence and words. She tilted her head slightly toward the kitchen door.
“The boy is coming,” she said. “He is quite grateful for how you have helped him. He will help you now and will not share this with the others.”
I looked in the direction that she had indicated and saw the dishwasher ambling through the doorway. The street lamp illuminated his curly red hair and gaunt frame. He was absently inserting a cigarette between his thin lips but promptly dropped it upon viewing the spewed garbage and my disheveled state.
“Wow! Wendy. What happened? You okay?”
I glanced back at the woman, but I knew that she would be gone.
“Yeah,” I answered. “Can you give me a hand? And keep it to yourself, okay?”