Chapter _; book i
Working chapter title:  residual

Below the slow shifting lens of her vision, Eden could see the ghost trails of her motions. A quick scan of the room and suddenly she was wrapped in a cocoon of burning tails of blues and yellows. Lounging amongst a tangled mess of blankets and pillows and twisted jeans, she relaxed, [allowing] her head to rest on Pilot's shoulder. There was something inherently wrong underneath the fabric of his button up shirt, a lacking, a void that she couldn’t place but she couldn’t shake the murkiness from her thoughts to figure out exactly what it was. From the corner speakers, a random shuffle of her music library played distantly. In the kitchen, a stream of tap water drizzled into the stainless steel sink, filling it up a centimeter at a time. Beneath the noise of the living room, it was indistinguishable from the rain that pelted the window panes.

“Sometimes,” he said, the quiet sound of his voice barely making it to her ears over the music, “I feel like I’m reigning in a monster. And I look around but nothing is clear and I’m surrounded by the suspicious outlines of unknown figures; and I recognize nothing except the faint taste of blood in the air and the feeling in my gut that somehow I had spilled it. When the haze wears off, and I’m facing the apprehensive looks of my squad, I feel like, the ground… It splits between my feet, beneath the rage of this beast in me.”

She couldn’t feel his grip around her waist. Adjusting her position, she settled into a comfortable straddle over his thighs, and snaked her arms around his neck. “I don’t see any monsters in there,” she said, studying the verdant intricacies of his eyes. Somewhere in her ribcage, a part of her said, this isn’t right, there’s something wrong here. She offered him an easy smile and leaned to kiss his mouth.

He gave in to her without protest, his palms grazing her arms, faintly, as if only a memory, as he strained upward to her to return her kiss. Outside, lightning lit up the black sky. Her instincts screamed "in the morning, you’ll pay the price for this."

The sky lit up suddenly, furiously bright, the kind of bright that made her wonder if lightning had struck right outside of the window. Electricity surged for a moment before flickering out entirely. Blindly, she felt for him, pressed down against the material pinned under her until she realized it held nothing living. She fell sideways onto the pillows, curling her legs against her chest, and laid in the dark silence for a long time. Where had he gone? She couldn’t help but wonder further, had he been there at all? The rain continued outside, heavy and loud, but she paid no attention to it. Left alone, without warning, she realized she wasn’t fine anymore.

She couldn’t second-guess herself; of course he’d been there, she touched him, heard him.  The smell of him was still there in the pillows.  She hadn’t imagined their evening. He’d left, he’d had to. She was sure of it. The weight of a truth she didn’t understand fell harshly upon her, knocking the breath right out of her lungs. Choking on her unannounced tears, desperately trying to swallow the growing lump in her throat, she got up from the couch and grabbed her coat. She wouldn’t forget this night, not like all the others.

She would remember this, she would ensure that.


Unfiltered sunlight pierced her eyelids and pulled her, roughly, from sleep. She had gone to bed without turning the window tint up? Rolling up into a sitting position, Eden grumbled to herself as her vision spun out of control. She waited for the dizziness to pass before she cautiously rose from the couch and stomped into the kitchen in search of something caffeinated to help clear the fog from her mind. There was water all over the hardwood floor and she slid gracelessly, catching herself on the edge of a counter with a painful crash as her hip slammed into the cupboard door. A strange tightness became agitated just under her right collarbone, and she slipped a hand under the cotton of her shirt to feel freshly scabbed skin. Panicked, she yanked her shirt up over her head and turned towards the large mirror hanging just past her dining room table. She didn’t recognize the phrase that lay tattooed, in small, elegant script, just under the scabs.

and, the ground, it splits between my feet, beneath the rage of this beast in me.

The End

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