Something wet splattered against her face. She watched the ring fall to the ground, heard it skitter across the pavement, and then she threw up violently on the side of the road, unable to look at the shredded body of her first and only love. She peeled flecks of bloody skin off her forehead--
Lorna woke up gasping, her heart beating like a jack rabbit against her ribcage. The images branded themselves against the back of her eyes. Shaking her head, she wrenched her eyelids open, bit her lip, and started to rock back and forth. Her wiry hair slid between her fingers as she clawed at her ears, trying to clear the faint dizziness clouding her thoughts and send the angry sounds of sirens back into dreamland, where she should have left them.
She'd been having that dream again. About Justin's death. Every night for the past week his face had disrupted her already uneasy sleep.
The sickening feeling digging into her gut faded after a few minutes and Lorna was able to fully awaken. Dry tear tracks made her cheeks stiff, and she wrinkled her eyes as she looked around her filthy apartment. Mounds of unwashed laundry were heaped at the end of her twin bed, surrounded by unread Vogue magazines and week-old burrito wrappers. Her head throbbed as she stood. She landed on something slippery and she fell to the floor with a loud and unceremonious thump. A vodka bottle skittered against the wall with a crash.
She couldn't recall any vodka in her past evening, but it certainly explained the overwhelming sensation that she was going to puke or pass out if she didn't drink something. In fact, most of the evening before was one long streak of color. She rubbed her back and tried not to let the flood of thoughts threatening to burst her mental dam overflow.
Dragging herself to her feet, she walked down the hallway towards the kitchen, running her hands along the smooth wooden walls. Black picture frames held photos of Justin before the accident.
Five years and she was still setting the table for two.
A quick diversion to the bathroom proved disastrous. Lorna blanched as she saw herself in the mirror--smeared mascara, puffy eyes, a torn lip, and a bruised chin. Confusion filled her head. These were fighting wounds, and she wasn't the fighting type. Justin had always beat her at anything athletic, even when they were just tussling.
Calm. Be calm. Breathe.
On the counter there was an extra glass. Inside sat a hairy toothbrush, which was dripping foamy water onto a tube of Colgate toothpaste.
These were not hers. This was not right.
She made a silent appeal to Justin, begging him to come back and explain. To come back and take control again.
Her stomach growled and she felt slightly faint as hunger overwhelmed her. With a little hestiation, she left the bathroom and approached the entrance to the kitchen.
She stopped short. Galoshes sat next to the door, along with a drippy umbrella and several parcels wrapped in brown paper.
Taking a deep breath, she pressed her hand against the swinging door and barreled inside.