|Rafael Atala (freyr) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2011-11-16 20:07:00
I know who you are
When: 31 October, 3:37 a.m.
In the darkness Nicolas woke with a start, dragging in a gasp so ragged and deep he seemed a drowning man breaking the surface. Mercifully, the woman beside him did not wake; she turned, one tanned leg falling out from beneath the sheets, the only sound she made a soft mumbling of his name. Her presence served to ground him somewhat, to bring him back to himself, and to his room in Pax Letale. Slowly the rich scent of turned earth and the copper taste of blood began to recede. But though he knew where he was, and recognized the dream for what it had been - a dream, and nothing more, no matter how clearly he had felt these things - he could not stop his heart trying to beat out of his chest, nor shake the baseless sensation that something was vitally, terribly awry.
His first thought was of the girls. He looked to the bedside clock, eyes narrowing as he calculated the time difference. They should have been awake an hour or better, and now would be nearly out the door and on their way to school. He fumbled for his cell phone, thumbing his way to the first of his younger siblings’ number from blind memory. He slipped from the bed as it rang, padding barefoot and naked through his cavernous suite. As he reached the living room his sister finally picked up, sounding equal parts exasperated and happy.
“Hey big brother,” Amelia said. “Glad you called. Caroline won’t get out of the bathroom-” By her receding volume Nicolas could tell she’d moved the phone, pulling it away to yell impotently at their youngest sibling. “I already told her more makeup won’t help what’s wrong with her, but-”
The door swung wide, slamming against the wall hard enough for Nicolas to hear. A noisy scuffle ensued, followed by a younger, more chirping voice shouting over the phone. “Nicolas, tell her to shut up,” Caroline said, squealing loudly into the handset as Amelia took the reins once more.
“Jesus, you two,” he said, not entirely certain now to whom he was speaking. “Put me on speaker.” A tinny click sounded their obedience. Sighing, he pinched at the bridge of his nose and began again. He knew he could not be honest with them; he wanted neither to worry them unnecessarily or to provoke their mockery by admitting his foolish fears. Still, it had to be said.
“First off, Caroline, you’re a beautiful girl. Stop caking that shit on. Boys don’t care about it as much as you do anyway, and it’s even less worthwhile if it’s making you late to school. You aren’t a little truant, okay?” Her mumbled, resentful acquiescence carried dimly across the line. “And Amelia, you’re gonna give her a complex. Chill out.” He cleared his throat, waiting for the silence that would speak to their understanding. Keenly he felt the distance between them, long miles that kept him from what he loved most in the world. He bit his tongue as if that might somehow ward off the sensation, and stalwartly forged ahead.
“I just wanted to hear your voices.” He sighed, forcing a smile into his voice. “See what plans you have for Halloween. I miss you guys. Is everything okay?”
True to form they both began at once, talking over one another, simultaneously demanding his undivided attention. It brought an earnest smile to his face, easing to some degree the thundering of his heart, the dark fear still coiling low in his belly. For all his reservations, and the animal terror that had so recently gripped him, it seemed God was in his heaven and all was right with the world. He listened to them until at last they had no choice but to go, having disappointingly made them even later for school, but feeling better for it all the same. With one last goodbye he disconnected the call, willing himself to accept this as a kind of closure to this terrible sense of dread. There was nothing to fear, and yet he felt an unshakable sense of mourning, a sadness he could not begin to explain. He returned to bed still wrapped solidly in that awful feeling, and sidled all the closer to his nameless companion for it, returning only fitfully to sleep and the dark, bloodsoaked dreams that came with it.