Blood Crumbs: Chapter 12Mature

    My afternoon ended up being entirely too uninformative. I drove over to the Tavernacle, which was a dueling piano bar where two pianists belted out requests for the drunken masses. All in all a promise of a great time if you ask me. I spoke with one the pianists from the previous night who remembered Kathy’s drunken rendition of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”, fairly well. The bouncer also remembered calling her a cab around two in the morning.

    I started checking on the popularity of hand powered drills and was nearly drowned in purchases. I filed it away under “if things get desperate”. The scalpels were an even larger catacomb of purchases that I filed away under “if Hell freezes over.”

    By then night had fallen and I found myself too sleep deprived to muddle through any other work. I picked up some low price Chinese food from a delightful little place called Chinatown Wok, where the only English spoken behind the counter was in reference to items on the menu and costs. God help anyone that had a question that couldn’t be answered with a simple yes or no. I walked out with my take out cartons of sesame chicken, lo mein noodles, cream cheese wontons, and pot stickers and drove home.

    My house was a little brick rambler that was built in the 50’s. It was on nice street with a neighborhood watch and block parties; neither of which, found me in attendance. I figured I was three years and a stroke away from being the cranky old coot that sits on my front lawn with a shotgun screaming at the neighbor kids about their loud music.

    I walked through the door and heard a small clack as the dog door in the kitchen made way for Penny. Penny was an Alaskan Malamute I had picked up from the shelter four years ago. As with most of her breed, Penny looked like a cross between a husky and a wolf. Her fur was a mix of white and a brownish, almost coppery red which I assume is where she got her name. She had a genetic condition called gigantism which meant that Penny, while already a large breed, would be huge. The normal female malamute ranged from seventy-five to ninety-five pounds where as Penny weighed in at one hundred and twenty-two.

    When I picked her up from the shelter I had been informed that she did not have an abused past that was the unfortunate commonality of many of their residents. She’s just been too big for her last family.

    Penny’s claws clicked on the linoleum tiles in the kitchen and she poked her head out around the wall, lifting her nose to catch a whiff of my dinner. She walked over to the couch and jumped up onto it where she curled into a large red and white ball of fluff and stared at me.

    I grabbed a fork from the kitchen and sat next to Penny on the couch and unloaded the food in front of me. I turned on the TV and only had to flick through three or four channels before I found one of those crime dramas that litter the airwaves. The ones where scientists were detectives and psychologists were the bad asses, lawyers were sexy and interesting, and everyone had to do the job of the big dumb incompetent cops. A nice little break from reality.

    When the credits rolled, another bad guy off the streets, I was sufficiently stuffed and Penny had cleaned up any leftovers that could be seen. I found my way to bed and was barely able to undress and set my phone on the night stand before collapsing against the mattress.

    Sleep bubbled up from everywhere. Caffeine had been generously applied to battle the weariness that now surged through my body. Darkness slid up my legs from the bottoms of my sore feet. It flowed down my back and arms from the tight knot that hard formed in my neck and shoulders. The deep bags under my eyes released waves of it that sloshed through my brain. A light snore permeated the stillness of the room moments after my head hit the pillow.

    *    *    *

I dream of blood.

    I was standing in it; a thick darkness blanketing me. I felt I could reach out and grab it. As if I could feel the soft, velvety texture of it. Each breath would be strained as I pulled blackness deep into my lungs. Dark so complete, and yet I felt the blood. It sloshed against my ankles and warmed my feet as my socks lapped it up into their spongy fabric.

    That’s when I realized the blood was my own. Drawn from my very own body. I felt it dripping from my bloody fingertips as it escaped through the cracks in my fingernails. It poured from my ears and nose and eyes. The salty, metallic taste danced across my tongue as it flowed from my gums and out the corners of my mouth.

    The blood grabbed at the darkness and drew it in. As it pooled around my feet the world around me turned from black to grey to white. Soon I was just a husk; a bloodless capsule of meat and bones, staring at the blood and darkness gathering at my feet.

    It slid silently away. In front of me it migrated towards a hole in the floor, pouring into it.

    A bathtub drain.

    And then it wasn’t a drain. It was just a circle of red. A single dot that gathered up the blood upon itself. Compacting it. Folding it inside of itself so that rivers of it soon became a single dot the size of a nickel. It vibrated threateningly. Unstable.

    I walked closer; each step creaking and cracking inside my bloodless body. The lines and contours of a face began to form as I approached. The blood stood on his forehead, but it did not rest on the face of Emilio Ramirez.

    That face.

    Jeremy Graham.

    I tried to turn away but the jolted action of snapping my head caused a large popping sound. My head crackled off my shoulders and I became dizzy as it rolled across the ground.

    I came to rest and watched the rest of my body collapse to ash and be blown away. All that was left was Jeremy and me. He was facing me now, smiling his crooked smile.

    Insincere. It never reached his eyes.

    His lips moved and mouthed the same words he had said to me thousands of times in thousands of dreams. Five haunting words that played through my head over and over again.

    “It was easier for you.”

    The blood began to move. Slowly sliding down his forehead and onto the bridge of his nose. The man’s smile faded now, quickly replaced by raw pain. Agony slashed his features as the blood began to burrow inside him. His nose ruptured and splintered as the red dot burrowed deeper. There was a sickening crunch as his face collapsed under the pressure of the burrowing.

    And then I was dust.

The End

64 comments about this story Feed