Friday, January 10, 2014

Episode Thirty One

Episode Thirty One

I sense there's something in the wind
That feels like tragedy's at hand
And though I'd like to stand by him
Can't shake this feeling that I have

     Esther sank back in a heavy gloom and waited. She let the rhythmic ticking of the grandfather clock to the left of Dr. Belane's desk melt away. The street sounds outside the window decrescendo and the slight scratch of the couch's upholstery beneath her faded. Somehow it was easier this time to slip into the void. Somehow it was almost...pleasant.
     She knew Dr. Belane was talking, couching her. She wasn't sure if she were ignoring the words or just couldn't hear them anymore. The familiar sound was on the cusp of her hearing, just on the edge of shadows and she had no desire to amplify them with concentration.
     I could fall asleep. Or maybe I am...
     The spark descended in the dark; slow, dripping as thick honey down a straw. She waited, expecting the jolt of fear. Even as the gold swayed, parted and outlined a round shape that spiraled so fast it sent ripples in the dark she felt...calm. The fast sway and spin of the undefinable object lulled her. She watched the ripples of the dark pool and multiply.
     A swell sharpened.
     Esther focused. A small bit of shadow pulled away from the rest. It stretched and barbed as another bit dripped upwards and bulged to form a globe. As the object swayed the gold illuminated a form rising up from the ripples. A creature, barely distinguished from the dark, lifted another sharp arm from the darkness, shadows dripping off a form like runny tar.
     Chatter, delicate and soft at first, filled the darkness. Esther's heartbeat sped, pounding in her chest. Another arm, claws at the end, surfaced from the shadows. Then another. The ripples accelerated, clashed against one another, spread. And each seemed to bring up an arm, claws, a...head.
     The comforting tones of Dr. Belane echoed eerily, muffled by shadows. The silence within the scape turned sinister with clashing chatters and foreign whispers. The darkness reached for the thin golden line. Claws surrounded the object. The thick background of black undulated, pulling the gold into it. The gold sunk, darkness folding over it like a curtain, strange creatures pulling, tugging, forcing it under. Esther struggled against it, willing the gold to ascend. But a small articulation, a sound that resonated with her voice purred against her ear.
     "Let it go. Let it go."
     Terror poured into her, hot and weightless, and with it a new and familiar voice. "Its just a dream...Wake up. Wake up Esther. Wake up!"
     Dr. Belane...
     "Open your eyes, Esther."
     She struggled against the growing dark, the vanishing gold, the rising claws.
     "Listen to me. Focus on my voice. Open your eyes."
     The voice sharpened. The crisp shadows lost their edge.
     The scape shuddered. The chatter lessened. The gold glowed. It tore through the dark, creating seams of light. A shriek. All was gold and light and...
     With a gasp Esther opened her eyes.
     For a moment silence pressed down on her like a weight. Then...the scratch of upholstery beneath her fingers. the soft whoosh of traffic outside a window. Her own panting breath. The doctor's office coalesced, the concerned face of Dr. Belane looming over her.
     Belane smiled. "There you are. No, don't sit up. I'll get you some water."
     Pressure lifted from the couch as Belane stood.
     Esther blinked up at the ceiling; sure her body was at once reeling and still.
     "Take slow deep breaths." Belane sat beside her, offering a small plastic cup.
     Slowly Esther pushed herself up against the arm rest and took the cup. Sipping at the water she tried to ignore a gnawing urge to close her eyes and escape back to...what exactly?
     "What was that?" she asked. "I couldn't control it at all. All this darkness swelled up and..." Her hand tightened on the cup and she took another sip.
     "It's ok. Sometimes our subconscious gets the better of us. We might be trying too hard."    Belane took the cup and set it on the coffee table. "How do you feel?"
     Esther swallowed. "I'm ok."
     "Are you sure?"
     "Yes." She sat up straighter.
     "Good." Belane smiled, though Esther had a feeling she wasn't buying it. "Just sit for a while before you head out, ok?"
     Esther nodded.
     The iron gate squeaked as it closed. Esther glanced back. Dr. Belane was on the porch. She waved. Esther forced a smile and hurried onto the sidewalk.
     An odd rustle punctuated the still air behind her. She glanced up at the trees lining the avenue as she continued down the sidewalk to the Underground.


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