chapter xxiiMature

The rain started not long after she’d left to take a shower in her own condo a few doors down.  It felt strange, her absence.  As if a part of him had been misplaced; a part that he’d only recently discovered, like a second heart, beating away at the center of his first.  As if it had always been there but he’d been too ill-sighted to see it.  He found himself wandering around, picking up things now and then as if he intended to occupy himself, only to return it to where he’d picked it up.  First, one of the demon books he’d purchased a few days before – had it only been that long? – that he’d found on the nightstand in his bedroom, then it was his laptop, sitting on the counter in the kitchen, then it was a magazine from the coffee table in front of the couch.  He flipped through stations on the television, but nothing held his attention. 

He felt restless, angsty; his nerves were on edge but he couldn’t place the source of his bad feeling.  Grahams thoughts were scattered and disjointed; absently, he tried to assemble them but he had little luck in doing so.  He felt lost without his guide, but there was more.  There was something deeper.  His abdomen throbbed.  Perhaps he’d overdone it with all of his activity, but he refused to sit idly in his bedroom and wish his life would go back to normal.  At the very least, Graeme knew himself to be nothing short of an active man; he did not like sitting around, he preferred to be moving even if the action was not necessarily conducive to accomplishing his goals.  His therapist when he was younger had told his parents it was the ADHD, but Graeme knew it wasn’t.  He was just a restless soul, always eager for a new goal to keep him occupied.

By the time she returned, he was prepared to admit to himself that he was overjoyed.  The implications of such a relief did not cross his mind, but they should have.

The two of them poured over the books he’d purchased and Gabriel shared with him a wealth of information the books didn’t cover.  Some of the things she told him stirred at his memory, reminding him of the dream he’d had the night before, though nothing was clear – at best, any recollection was hazy and messily arranged.  The fog he’d found himself in earlier, while she was gone, settled around him once again.  Her presence did nothing to abate the feeling.  She seemed to notice he’d sunk into himself but, kindly, she said (nothing).  Soon, everything began to feel distant.  The only anchor he could find to keep him grounded in the room with her was the ache in his stomach.  Idly, his fingers touched on the bandages.

The letters on the pages blurred and then there was blackness.

The End

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