Life after Life: Part 5
High points of the week:
a) I learned how to knit in a circle with those little needles and now I can make hats.
b) Both kids are still alive and (aside from the school-has-started-virus-scourge) healthy.
c) I finished the draft of When it's Not Right (yup, a follow-up to When it's Not Perfect!) and started editing.
As you can see, not a bad week. I'm blaming hormones for myself being whiny today. Am I still allowed to do that? I don't have menopause, and puberty was a looong time ago, but I can still use hormones as an excuse... yes? Please!? (Because being this whiny can't be attributed to the "life happens" moments lately, so must be something other than the cold weather, still-recovering-but-at-least-dry basement, cranky kids getting settled into the school routine, and my own flare of insomnia... can't be any of that. LOL!) Hope you have a good weekend :)
He put his hand on the doorknob and tried to fight off the memory. This was the door into the bathroom of his dad’s place. The knowledge burned into Liam’s skull was that the next turn of the catwalk followed the bathroom’s layout and he would be leading the way through where his dad had fallen in the tub and hit his head, around the corner into his parent’s bedroom where his mom was already high and having sex with her dealer because she couldn’t cope with having found the body so called for a hit before calling the cops. A neighbor had heard her initial screaming, though, and called the cops because of it. Liam had come home from school after his mom’s dealer showed up, and before the cops arrived, wondered about the weird voice in his parents’ bedroom, and escaped through the bathroom when the dealer tried to rape him too.
“Kaylynd, I need you to be really good for a minute, and it’s going to be really hard to do,” he warned her, his voice breaking. “Can you follow me with your eyes closed?”
“Not very well,” she admitted. Which was true, she’d tripped up on her own or his feet every time she tried. She must’ve been in a growth spurt. “I’m not very good at –”
Another roar, even closer, interrupted her and she pressed closer to Liam’s back. Just like parkour, Liam decided he was better off with choosing the path that he already knew over staying out here and waiting for whatever unknown path would be presented when whatever was roaring caught up.
“Okay. I need you to let go,” he heaved a sigh and tapped her wrists gently. She swallowed a whimper and was staring up at him with watery, green eyes when he straightened and turned around. She was a perfect snapshot of summer innocence. “You know how baby monkeys wrap their arms and legs around their mom and hold on so she can go flipping through the trees?” he asked. She nodded, pushing a brave look onto her face, and he leaned forward to hug her. She wrapped around his torso in a grip that would’ve made a momma monkey proud and he stood up easily. “Keep your eyes closed and your head down. Whatever you do, don’t look at anything on the other side of this door.”
She did as she was told, her arms and legs pulling tighter as he rested his hand on the door knob again.
“Are you scared?” her small whisper blew down his collar.
“More than I’ve ever been in my life,” he admitted. If his heart had still been beating, it would have been racing to the point of pain. He glanced back at another roar and saw a new spec behind them. It was hard to focus on because it was… moving. “Keep your eyes closed and your head down, Kaylynd.”
The bathroom was still small and – just like the image burned into his memory – only one of the two light bulbs was working. Although it looked smaller now that he was bigger, the smell was just what he remembered. Liam saw his six-year-old self, frozen in the moment of seeing his dad naked and dead with blood still oozing down the drain with the water. In that moment, his younger self had known beyond all and any doubts that he was absolutely and utterly alone. He was alone with the dealer who was about to gleefully laugh and throw his mom’s feeble attempt to be maternally defensive into a dresser, intent on coming after Liam, and yet somehow he’d known…
Time started as the laugh sounded from the bedroom, and the younger Liam looked up at… himself. Liam let go of Kaylynd with one hand and squeezed his own shoulder.
“Cops are on the porch. Run. Bounce off the walls so you don’t slow down and just run,” he told himself.
There was the crash from the bedroom and Liam watched his younger self rip open the door into the hallway and bolt out. He’d never told anyone about the feeling of a hand on his shoulder, or that he knew there were cops outside, but in that moment he’d gone from being alone to knowing somebody was looking out for him. 'That somebody' hadn’t come back despite running his heart right out of his chest keeping ahead of the creep who was only a step behind him the whole way through the house, and all the times after this moment a hand had never been on his shoulder again. At least now, on this side of the moment, he knew why.
Kaylynd moved in his arms and Liam pressed her head down into the corner of his neck and shoulder so that she couldn’t look around to see what was happening. This had been the start of what had messed him up for his whole life, and she didn’t need to go through it now. He followed the turning into the bedroom and the whole house evaporated into dust that faded into the same grey as before they’d gone in. He realized, once everything was gone, that that day had been the worst and most terrifying thing that had ever happened to him. He could now say honestly that that day was worse than dying in a gutter.
The roar was close enough to raise the hair on Liam’s neck and he spun in place to look back. The spec behind them was definitely moving, and it was definitely getting bigger.
“You did really good, Kaylynd,” he said, putting her down. “Let’s get moving a bit faster, yeah?”
She nodded hard and grabbed onto his belt after looking back at whatever was coming up behind them and paling at least two skin tones. They’d drifted more to the middle of the catwalk so it took a moment of searching to find the edge. Then they were off at something closer to a jog than the basic walking that they’d been doing so far.
The next door came up fast and Liam didn’t recognize it. Kaylynd’s fingers slipped out of his belt and the sound of her footfalls stopped. She wouldn’t come any closer to it than where she was frozen in place nearly ten feet away.
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A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!