She was in the dark place. She was drowning in the scents around her – beer-tinged piss, wood smoke, exhaust fumes, and the stench of something very sweet.
Wake up, wake up! But she never could; not until each scene unfolded, again and again. She’d had this same dream for as long as she could remember: same dark place, same evil people, same cloying stench. Same ending.
Wake up, damn you, she groaned in her sleep.
The man had the woman on the ground and was hitting her. The little girl – she was the little girl in the dream – kicked and bit and screamed, but boney fingers clenched her arms. She was just a child; she couldn’t escape.
Another man – she called him the snake man -- walked up and kicked the first man savagely. The woman crawled to the newcomer’s feet and grabbed the ankles of his boots. The little girl knew they were speaking, but couldn’t understand the words. The man in the boots touched the woman’s cheek, caressing her face gently with his left hand. The snake tattoo wound its way up his arm, slithering as his muscles tightened.
Wake up, wake up, please.
His right hand rose above his head. He held something that was long, thin, black, and caught the flicker of the firelight. To a child, it looked like a very long nail.
The woman looked at the little girl and spoke the same words every time, “Close your eyes, Baby.”
The phone was ringing. The phone. There’d never been a phone in the dark dream before.
sat up, switched on the bedside lamp, picked up the phone with one hand and
with the other, opened the table’s drawer and patted the empty spot where she
used to keep a pack of Misty’s. Beverly
her mother’s voice was shaky. Bev
glanced at the alarm clock. Beverly
“Mom, it’s 2:30, what’s wrong?”
“I can’t find the cat.”
“Of course I have a cat. What’s wrong with you?”
“I certainly do. Serious hasn’t eaten the tuna I put down for him in three days. I haven’t let him out. But I can’t find him.”
Her mother Theodora, called Teddy for short, had forgotten that Serious Cat, a part tuxedo, part Persian had succumbed to kidney failure three years ago. As
slipped on old jeans, a T shirt and her well-worn grasshoppers, she debated the
best way to break the news to her mother – again. Beverly
“Mrs. Knightly, I’m Dr. Eoghan.” The young man entered the room reading a chart, and stuck out his hand without looking up.
Eoghan looked up and pursed his lips. “Dr. Figaro is at surgery. I’m one of his partners.”
“No offense, Doctor, but we’ll come back when Dr. Figaro is available.” Bev turned and touched her mother’s shoulder. “Time to go, Mom.”
“The nurse said you were very concerned about your mother.” Eoghan stepped in front of the door.
“The nurse also said Dr. Figaro would see her.”
bristled. “He’s the only doctor my mother’s ever
known. I’m sure you’re a wonderful doctor,
I just want to speak with someone who knows my mom.” Beverly
“Give me a chance.” He shrugged and grinned. “Why don’t you tell me what the problem is, and if you’re not happy with my suggestions, I’ll tell Dr. Figaro everything when he gets back this afternoon. He can call you.”
“I have her entire folder here. It goes back ten years. It will save you a trip.” He pointed at the examining table. “Mrs. Knightly, why don’t you hop up here for a minute?”
While Eoghan examined Teddy, he asked
questions. “What’s happened?” Beverly
“She called me last night about something. When I went over to her house, I found out she’s not been taking her medication.”
“Tacrine or synthroid?”
“The one for mental confusion: tacrine.” Bev smoothed her skirt. “It looks like she’s missed four day’s worth.”
Bev glanced down to her right, frowning. “She’s not been paying her bills. I got a phone call from a friend at the city and had to rush a check to them to keep them from turning off her lights.”
Teddy snapped, “Of course I pay my bills. They must have lost it! You know how they are!”
Eoghan felt her pulse and spoke softly. “Mrs. Knightly, how do you feel?”
“My cat died.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I love cats. When did it happen?”
Teddy looked to
for help. Beverly
“Three years ago. But because she hadn’t been taking her medication, she was concerned last night that she couldn’t find him.”
“His name was Serious.”
“I like that name. My cat’s name is
Eoghan held a cell phone to his ear. “Janet, come to room five please.”
“Hello Mrs. Knightly, Mrs. Birch.” Janet was huge and always smelled of cedar. Both mother and daughter brightened at her greeting.
“Janet, would you take Mrs. Knightly’s vitals? Mrs. Birch and I will go to my office to get out of your way.”
The diplomas on the walls were from American universities. He watched as she scrutinized them and didn’t sit until she had.
“So, how are you holding up?
“I’m fine.” She looked at his white coat and noticed a red lighter resting in the front pocket.
“You look tired.”
“Doctor, you don’t know me, so you have nothing to compare my present looks with. Maybe I always look this way.”
hoped the wry
twist of her lips helped her words come across as humor. Beverly
Close Your Eyes
© Evelyn Rainey
Available for publication.