1:The Perfect Dream
Awareness of her surroundings comes with a sort of suddenness, though she’s sure she’s been here for some time. The room is draped with tapestries, thick curtains and fine furniture. A bookcase is stacked thick with books, a writing desk the centerpiece, situated just under a window. It’s a comfortable place, and reminds her of her childhood room.
She slides fingers over each item in the room, as if assuring herself that is indeed real. On the desk, she finds a sketchpad and flips through it. It is filled with half-finished drawings. Flashes of memories come to her: her own hands working on those sketches, studying those scenes, those animals, those people.
Yet, that is all she remembers. In the next instant, it is gone, and she leans over the desk and pulls aside the curtain. An involuntary gasp sucks through her lips as she stares at the brilliant landscape before her. It is sunset, the world painted in pinks and yellows, but what is more breathtaking is that the view is from such a high vantage point.
“Lovely, isn’t it?”
She drops the curtain and spins to find a man, as strikingly familiar as the sketches, leaning against the doorway. He’s lean, tall, broad shouldered, and sharply featured. His hair is a dark chocolate brown, fringing his face, his eyes glinting pools of shadow.
A name comes to her and her heart picks up its pace.
“Aleric?” she whispers in disbelief. She hasn’t seen him in... she can’t remember.
He nods, a corner of his lips tilting up into a hint of a smile.
* * *
“Elloreah,” he calls through the door. “Open the door before I open it myself.” His voice is low and gruff. It’s hard for him to stifle the rage, the frustration she brought out in him. How long was it now that he’d been playing baby sitter to this woman? He raises his hand and knocks again.
“I’ll knock once more, fair warning. Then I’m coming in,” he calls again. He can’t help but wonder where he’d be if he hadn’t been asked to keep an eye on her. Elloreah was little more than a thorn in his side at this point, despite what they may have meant to each other in the past.
One more knock and he fishes out the key. If she was in there, she was passed out cold. If she wasn’t, he could snoop around and figure out where to find her.
For a long moment, he worries he’d brought the wrong key, or she’d changed her locks. After a rattle and some struggle, he got the stubborn thing open and slips inside. Pushing the door shut behind him, he takes in the threadbare apartment.
It smells faintly of spoiled food, and he wrinkles his nose as he moves past the small kitchen. The counter is littered with a collection of bottles and a crumpled pack of cigarettes, a zippo lighter tossed casually beside it. That tell-tale sign told him she was likely at home, the old lighter something of a constant companion. He moves down the short hall, checking the bathroom before nudging open the bedroom door.
It is there that he finds her, sprawled half across the bed, spilling onto the floor. Her state of half dress and uncomfortable position is not a new sight for him. The needle still dangling from her arm and the blue tinge to her lips is. She is still, too still. And so is he, frozen, rooted to the spot.
“What have you done?” is all he can manage, the horror of it all encompassing.
“Why can’t I leave?” she asks.
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bit·ter·sweet: being at once bitter and sweet; especially: pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret. A collection of short stories I've written since joining Wattpad for various contests, challenges and publications. The...