Chapter 30

3.3K 273 11

Unable to bear another of Herman's rants about a solution manifesting into reality if only she'd look upstream far enough, Zandra heads back to her condo above Sneak Peek to gather herself. Literally. Her purple gown is a mess, the gaudy rhinestones better off adorning the inside of her trash can.

A long soak in the tub brings her body back to life, although she'll be far from camera ready for at least a couple weeks. Viewers don't like their TV psychics to have swollen faces and bruised arms.

Looking at the torches of bruising in the mirror, she's reminded of something. Another time. Before the celebrity. She glances down to what used to be her bad ankle. Rubs it against her good one. The electric nerves where the doctors corrected the ankle come back to life, a sign that the healing process is a slow one. It festers deep inside despite the outward appearance. It can't be covered up completely.

I wouldn't be in this mess if you were still alive, David. We could've had a decent, low-key life together. We could've been one of those boring couples. Work. Kids. Vacations.

Zandra fills the bathroom sink with cold water, then dips her face beneath the surface. Feels the chill cascade across her injuries. It'll help with the swelling, but not everything else. It doesn't take long for her lungs to reach their limit. She pushes through the pain, holding her face in the water long enough for her reflexes to suck a mouthful of water into her lungs.

So this is what it felt like when you died, David, your head held under by Gene Carey's hands at Soma Falls.

Zandra pulls her head up from the water, coughing hard into a towel. She gets dressed for bed, but decides to sleep on the couch. She can't accept the comfort of the bed, not tonight. Tomorrow she needs to wake up with a crick in her neck, to fight to get her sore frame up. This is no time for creature comforts, at least not without David. Her element belongs in the honesty of pain and the fire it lights in her belly. Best to let it through without dulling it.

Tomorrow she'll visit Amanda. Tomorrow she'll find a weakness in Dvorak. Tomorrow she'll turn her pain into profit, just as she always has.

Zandra dreams of Soma Falls. Of David's touch. Herman's theories. Dvorak's insidiousness. Gene's malevolence. Fred's stoicism. Chris's loyalty. Amanda's innocence. And someone else only in a shadow. They float like icebergs in her mind as she wakes the next morning, beckoning for her to peek beneath the surface to reveal their true character. She mouths two words to herself as she rises and massages her aching joints, unsure of their origin.

"Help me," she says into the bathroom mirror over and over. "Help me."

Zandra doesn't know what that means, but her gut says to start looking at Amanda's apartment. She suits up with a fresh purple gown and packs its pockets with a few choice props from Sneak Peek.

I'm coming for you, Dvorak.

Black Eye: Confessions of a Fake Psychic Detective #2 (Watty Winner)Where stories live. Discover now