These Dark Corners

May 24, 2013
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Skylar’s eyes flashed gray in the darkness, when I finally opened my eyes, wrapping me harshly in some place between suffocating fear and clichéd lament. Waking up with her shaking me so persistently was enough to drive me insane most mornings, but her persistence seemed more intense than usual this morning. Definitely more frightening.
Times like these made me wonder, as I sat up, alert, grabbing on harshly to her arms, and then letting go once I’d realized exactly what I was doing – these times made me wonder if I really should be scared of my own daughter, but more importantly if this fear would never stop haunting me.
I looked into her eyes, two calming swirls of gray, and my erratic heartbeat gradually lessened. Concentrate on anything else, and I knew I’d start to frighten her by screaming. Her chin, her jawline, her mouth, they all looked like his.
“Come on, Mommy.” She shook me, her tiny fists gripping my shirt. “We have to go to Grandpa’s funeral.”
I sighed. The weight pressed on me again, like it had in the hospital, a parasite that I wanted to curl into and sit still - for fear that it would eat away at my insides. My eyes were dry, this morning, and I reluctantly made my way out of bed, dressed in iridescent black, to go to the funeral home with my daughter.

When Jake made his way into the church building, late, dripping from the rain falling outside, I abruptly abandoned my anger and embraced the hostess’ words – he’s the only one I’ve got now… the only one. A sorrow garnered deep in the recesses of his blue eyes, and hurt beneath that. He always said I was the only one who could tear him apart, layer by layer.
“Anna. I don’t have a suit,” He choked out, as I wrapped my arms around him tightly, a catalyst for the faucets in my eyes. His arms enveloped me tighter, and when he pulled away, he held my face, but I couldn’t look at him.
“Amma’s downstairs.” I closed my eyes. “Getting the casket ready. I’m sure she’s got a suit for you downstairs. Figured you’d need one.”
Then, for some enigmatic reason, I walked away, into the rain. It disguised my tears, so much so that I didn’t bother blinking. My vision ran blurred, until I couldn’t see anymore.

***
The raucous sound of the metal echoed in my ears as it grinded, sending violent, ineffable tremors caustically through my body. Someone just slammed into us. The thought was a wild refrain filtering through my shock and bewilderment. Dad’s body pressed against mine, cold and wet, limp and silent. When the car stopped sliding my heart was a rabbit in my ribcage, kicking furiously. Blood stained my clothes and my hands shook. Something was wrong… something more eccentric than any of this. The steering wheel jutted out into an odd angle, pressing at a pain that grew almost numb enough that it was unnoticeable. I closed my eyes, willing that strange, desperate noise to stop. What was that noise?
I calmed down enough to see that it was my breathing. I couldn’t breathe, mostly because of my panic and the car, broken and caving in like the ribcages of gaudy shoals… I shook my head, pressing hard against the immovable steering wheel. I looked out the broken window, and couldn’t see the road. The car was flipped over.
An ugly noise throbbed through the darkness, and I covered my ears, mopping up carmine near my forehead. It was me. I was screaming. The air was ripping apart suddenly, and I felt as if a fist was at my throat, squeezing, and squeezing and clawing at my will to breathe. Suddenly, my leg was free, and arms came around me, lights were flashing… but Dad was still in the car, resting gently against the headrest, when fire swallowed it, engulfing it carelessly, until my body went limp, and I couldn’t see anymore.

To Be Continued...





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