How it’s already the first Monday in July, I have no idea. Seriously… but I’m not complaining. It’s summer vacation. No school lunches, begging kids to get up. Threatening a deal with Crowley if they don’t do their homework, and best of all…DOLLAR DRINK DAYS AT McD’s… (everyone needs a vice. Just saying.)
Anyway, it’s another flash fiction Monday, and this week is a lovely photo, though, not an easy one. Of course, none of them have been easy, but I keep hoping. Keep praying that just once, the story will be there and I won’t have to drag it out. This is not that month, lol. But… I do have something. So, without further delay, here’s the picture and the story.
Come to me, Daniel. I’m waiting. I’ll always be waiting.
Daniel bolted upright, his voice still echoing in the room. Sweat stung his eyes as it dripped down his forehead, his heart pounding against his ribs. He tossed back the thin blanket and swung his feet to the side, the rough feel of the unfinished floor grounding him slightly. He stared at his hands until his vision adjusted to the dark, not surprised at the tremor that seemed to have taken hold.
It’d been three months, and he still dreamt of her every night. Still felt the panic of having her disappear. The pain of finding her bloody. Broken. Dead.
He cupped his hands over his ears, trying to block out the voice. Her voice. Not that it’d do any good. She’d simply move inside his head—whisper her siren’s song over and over like a message on a loop. Drive him to the edge only to disappear as the sun peeked above the horizon. Stole her power as the light clawed away the black. But she’d return with the stroke of midnight. Test his sanity one more time…
An image flashed in his mind, the clarity of it stealing his ragged breath. She was dressed in white, her long chestnut hair lifting off her shoulders int he breeze. Those brilliant green eyes had filled with joy as she’d picked up her shoes and turned, walking barefoot along the path. She’d stopped and looked at him over her shoulder, laughing before daring him to catch her. Then she’d taken off, the soft cadence of her footfalls drifting along the air.
He’d waited. Given her a head start. Knowing he’d catch her before she reached the pond down the trail on the other side of the hill. He’d smiled, already imagining her silhouette flashing in and out of view amidst the trees as the path wove through a small stand—the source of their privacy once they reached the cool water. He’d pictured stripping her down—watching her pale skin gleam in the late afternoon sun. How she’d react to his every touch. How she’d feel moving beneath him, her body surrounding him, the slick slide of his cock mixing with the raspy sound of their breath. The way her fingers would clench his back as she climaxed around him.
I’m waiting for you.
“Shut up, just shut the fuck up!”
He pushed to his feet, grabbing his pants off a nearby chair. He tripped toward the doorway, trying to tug on his pants without stopping. It’d only fuel her power—give her more time to block his escape.
He stumbled into the hallway then headed for the foyer. The bedroom door slammed shut behind him, as the lights flickered on then off, a low buzz filling the air. He didn’t stop, barely registered the noise as he focused on the silver-colored know twenty feet in front of him.
A chair scraped out from the kitchen table as he passed it, the ghostly silhouette of her wavering close by. He didn’t acknowledge it—knowing he’d never get out if he looked at her. Saw the wounds carved into her skin. The bruised pattern around her neck. He’d never realized how brutal murder was—not truly—until he’d found her…
He shook away the thoughts. He couldn’t have known. Couldn’t have anticipated that bastard would be lurking. Waiting to steal her away. Take the only truly beautiful thing in Daniel’s life. That their game would end as yet another statistic. A number on a case file.
You knew what he was capable of. You never should have left me alone.
Daniel bowed his head as he palmed the doorknob, her words stinging as much now as when she’d first appeared to him. The air cooled along his neck, and he knew she was standing behind him—waiting for him to weaken. To turn around.
He twisted the handle, surprised when it actually turned. He’d lost count of the times she’d trapped him there. How many times he’d been forced to relive that night—see her death through her eyes. Shit, he didn’t even know how she did it. If any of this was truly real.
He reefed open the door, staring out at the lamplight. A light rain misted the air, blurring the glow of the lamp into a wash of grays and yellows. He placed one foot beyond the threshold, willing himself out the damn door, when icy fingers cupped his shoulder.
He froze, the sheer pressure of the invisible touch holding him captive. His stomach rolled in protest, the acid taste of bile burning his throat.
He clenched his jaw, finally glancing back. The tattered remains of her short, white dress hung off her shoulders—the red patches bright against the fabric. As if she were somehow still bleeding. Her once soft hair shot out in a tangled mess from her head like a fuzzy halo of dull brown. But it was her eyes that always took his breath away. Hollow and sad, with more than a hint of bitter resentment shining in the green depths. He’d never thought she could look at him like that. As if he’d been the one to steal her life away.
He blew out a shaky breath, noting the way it misted in front of him mouth. “Isabel.”
She jerked back at her name, and he couldn’t help but wonder if it held any power. If he somehow affected her as she did him. She recovered quickly, making the remaining chairs around the table shake. “You left me.”
Her words bit at what little remained of his heart. “Never. He took you from me.”
“You knew how dangerous he was. You. Knew.”
Daniel could only nod. He had known. He just never thought the man would go after her. Not her. Not when Daniel knew he’d loved her, too. “I’m sorry.”
“Then prove it. Come to me. I’m waiting for you.”
“Isabel. Please. I can’t.”
“You can’t? Or you won’t?”
“Both, I suppose. You know that. Someone has to make sure he pays. It’s my job—”
“Your job was to love me. Protect me.” She glared at him, this time breaking glass next to the door. Pieces shot through the air, one cutting his jaw. “Don’t you love me any more?”
He didn’t bother wiping at the blood. “You know I do.”
“Then come to me.”
He set his jaw, firming his hold on the door as he finally turned away. “No.”
He launched himself onto the porch, fighting against the pull of her icy grip. Scratches rose along his neck before he managed to break free—stumble down the three stairs to the walkway. pain flared through his limbs, the sharp ache stabbing through his heart.
He stared at the house, his gaze drifting to the glass. Solid once more, it reflected the eerie light, the flawless surface mocking him.
He closed his eyes. He couldn’t live like this. Wondering from one day to the next if he was losing his mind. If anything was real, or if he was caught in some kind of endless loop. Groundhog day from hell.
He drew a quick breath. He needed to stop this. Break free of the guilt. Tomorrow, he’d check himself into the center. Find a way to rid his mind of the memories. The nightmares. Find a way to move forward—put the bastard behind bars.
Bastard. His best friend. He was going to find a way to ensure his best friend never hurt anyone else ever again.
The panicky feeling ebbed slightly, the feel of the cool mist calming him. He exhaled, spinning toward the street as he opened his eyes.
Isabel hovered an inch from his face, those eyes burning into black. “I’m done waiting.”
That’s it for me. Now go check out the other ladies. A big crowd this week. So lots of great stories.