I kissed you at the apex of the maelstrom. I watched our world crumble as the rocks and stars fell from our skies. We hugged each other with such passion and we trembled, falling into the cracks somewhere between heaven and hell.
I woke up in a daze. My head pounded and my body felt like it spent the last couple nights drinking heavy liquor, thought I didn’t remember doing so. I ran my fingers through my hair and looked at my clock radio on my nightstand. It read seven thirty-five.
Crap, I thought to myself. I lifted the covers off my pale frame and walked, finally finding myself in the bathroom. I looked at the girl that looked back at me and wondered why was I even awake. My dark hair was matted to my head and my eyes were caked with dark eyeliner. I had dark marks running in a line down my neck and shoulder. Now, I remember what I did last night.
I turned on the faucet and cupped my hands to catch a drink of water, but I then, changed my mind when I saw the sate of my face. I washed my face, washing off the black makeup, even though a couple minutes I was going to put some back on again. I brushed my white teeth vigorous and my tangled hair gently, placing it in a ponytail. I glanced back at the girl in the mirror. She looked backed and smiled, appearing not so deathly anymore.
I walked back to my room and found some jeans and a shirt on my floor. I put them on, knowing that they were dirty, but I was late, so I didn’t care. I tripped over a pair of heels I thought I wore yesterday, but couldn’t remember. Hell, they went with my outfit so I put them on and went downstairs.
My mother had decorated the house in a quaint way, touches of floral here and there, mixed with modern furniture and neon colors. I loved it, everything, but hated the fact that I saw the same thing every day. I went down to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, pulling out a juice container and then, a glass, pouring the orange liquid into it. I put the glass to my lips and sipped, but felt nothing. My throat was as dry as the Sahara on its hottest day, but yet, nothing quenched it. I poured another glass and gulped it down, still feeling dry. Maybe I’m sick, I thought. I still did have that headache and was feeling the need of staying in my bed all day, instead of going to school, which I was already late for.
I left my cup on the counter and walked into my parents’ room. I knew they already left for work, so I barged in and walked to their bathroom. I urged through their medicine cabinet, looking for aspirin, to claim my nerves. I found the tiny bottle and opened the lid, taking out a couple of capsules and shoving a few down my throat and the rest in my pocket. I replaced the cap and put the bottle back inside the cabinet, closing the door shut and making sure everything was in the same place as where I left it.
I turned around, leaving my parents’ room, when I noticed that the covers on their bed were heaving up and down, as if somebody was there. My parents were supposed to be gone, at their offices in the city. Who was in their bed?
I braced myself for the worse, knowing that I was doing something wrong for being in their room without permission, but my gut told me to lift up the cover and see what was under that sheet.
I lifted up the heavy green fabric. My mother lied there, not moving, though breathing heavily. She wore a pink muumuu and curlers in her hair and held a picture of me of when I was younger; a photo of us in a pumpkin patch, getting the bejesus scared out of us, when we realize the scarecrow in the patch was really just a man dressed up as one.
“Mom?’ I asked. She didn’t stir.
“Mama?” I called out again. Tears fell down her cheeks. Why wasn’t she listening to me? She sniffled and put the covers back over her head, mumbling something about being too cold and wanting to die.
I ran to the bathroom, slamming the door open. The reflection was wrong, all wrong. It showed the girl I thought I got rid of in the morning, the girl with the messed up hair and make-up, the girl wearing the beer-drenched clothes to a party, a party that she remembered going to, but didn’t remember leaving. I touched my face, smearing the make-up, watching the black on the tip of finger turn into red.
What is happening? I thought. Everything was turning upside down. The headache I had in the morning was coming back. I place my hands in my head and sobbed. Why was this happening to me and what was it? My once perfect life was melting like candle wax and dripping in a downward drain. I looked up, back into the mirror and saw my face, bleeding. I looked at my arms. Chunks of flesh rolled down them and I watched the pieces burned into ash as they hit the floor. God, what was happening?
Just then, the floor opened. Flames and waves of molten rock washed out of the cracks. I stumbled, falling on to the floor, watching the lava melt everything that it touched. I screamed every time it neared my body, feeling the immense heat from its fire. I wanted to close my eyes, but something told me to leave them open.
From out of the crack, a white body rose. It wore robes of white, blinding me eyes. I want to shield them from this light, but my hands remained, as if they were glued to the floor.
I looked in the creature’s eyes and it stared back at me, beckoning me with its glare. For some reason, I knew that this creature wanted to take me, take me deep inside that crack in the linoleum. It held out its hand, demanding me with its eyes to take it.
I shook my head ‘no’ and called out for help, but inside, I knew no one was listening. Besides, it was too late. The pale demon stretched out its arm and grabbed my ankle. I struggled to grab on to something solid; the door handle, the sink’s piping, but my hands slipped.
The creature’s pulled me closer and closer. I screamed, begging for mercy, that I was too young to die. I could see it smile, as it if knew something I didn’t.
Its bony fingers ran through my hair, feeling every strand for its softness and its beauty. It placed its head on my chest as if it was trying to hear my heartbeat. I knew it had found it when it looked at me and grinned.
My body felt like it was on fire as the demon held me in its arms, holding me as it I was an infant. I started to cry as the creature lifted my head and I closed my eyes as it placed its lips on mine and sucked my life from out of me.
I woke up, springing to life. I was back in my room, back in my bed, covered with brightly colored sheets my grandmother bought for me. I felt my face and hair. No chunks of missing skin. I checked my arms. No burned flesh. I felt upon my neck. Even the hickies were gone. Everything that was supposed to be there was there. I heard a knock at the door.
“Honey,” my mom called out. She opened my bedroom door, finding her eldest child, crying like the little girl she thought she lost to make-up, boys, and late night parties. “Are you okay?”
“Mama…” I cried out, holding out my arms. Mom came running to me, dropping they laundry basket she held her in her arms. She looked at what she held now and asked once again what was wrong. I wiped my eyes and whispered nothing, looking at the black mascara that washed upon them with my tears, remembering the ash and the burning.
She ran her fingers trough my tangled hair and asked if I was going to that party, with my best friend Sarah, the party I said I desperately needed to go to. I shook my head ‘no’ and told her that I loved her and didn’t want her to let go of me. I felt her face smile as I told her that I wanted to spend the night, watching television with her and my father, a family tradition we haven’t done together since I was young.
Mom lifted my head with her hand and kissed my tear-stained cheek.
“You’ll be alright,” she said, patting my head. Mom walked away from me, smiling, but I knew that she was worried.
After a dinner of a deliver pizza, a pizza that before tonight I would never be so thankful to eat, my parents and I sat down in my living room, in front of the plasma big screen I once thought nothing of. I snuggled in the arms of my dad, the father I was so lucky to have. So many of my friends did not even know their fathers, due to long hours of work or the product of divorce. I once only knew him as a money tree, something to turn to when I need cash for gas or a concert, never appreciating the fact that he worked his hours to give that money in my so-call time if need.
We flipped through variety shows, comedy hours, and cartoons, not caring about how much time was passing us by, but enjoying each other’s company. The wee hours of the morning meant nothing until us; until we three all realized we were wrapped in each other’s lives and dreams that we weren’t looking at the world around us. Dad flipped in the late night news to catch up with the day’s events and sorrows.
The anchorwoman’s hair was hair sprayed perfectly in place, but she wore too much rouge, looking like she just ran the Boston Marathon. Her face looked pained, as if she was going to tell some depressing news.
“This just in,” she said. “The red Volkswagen that dove off Peterson’s cliff about two hours ago, contained four local high school students. Sarah Copeland, was driving and is suspected to be drunk at the time of this fatal accident.”
I gulped and my heart skipped two beats. My eyes grew wide before filling up with tears. I was supposed to be going to that party. I was supposed to be in that car. I was supposed to dive off that cliff. I was supposed to die.
Mom left the couch to get me tissues and dad held me close to his chest; his heart beat pounding with such intensity. Was he thinking the same thing I was? Was mom thinking the same thing?
I was supposed to die. I was suppose to die tonight, and yet, I was in my house, in my living, on my sofa, crying into my daddy’s arm, something I haven’t done since I was seven.
My mom came back with the tissues, wiping my face for a second time today. I gave her a sad smile of thanks, but the tears didn’t stop. She went over to kiss me, but I couldn’t feel her touch and in that instant, her warm face flashed to burning flesh and bone, then back to its normal state. I jumped, causing my father to hit my back. I coughed and was startled to see a flake of ash come from out of my mouth.