Crushed for the first time

(Continues from Up in Flames)


I blinked and everything clarified. I had come full circle back to where my trip down memory lane had begun. I crouched beside a chalked outline in a dank alley. I had died here, and those white lines delineated the last stop for my mortal remains before internment.

A highway breezed past this dead zone full of cars whisking the living on their errands. The man with the acid-washed jeans eyes clapped. Maybe he’d read my mind.

My gaze fixed on Jase still slumped between his jailors looking out of place in his Calvin Klein duds. Two elongated shadows with serrated wings and six-inch claws held him immobile. “You made a deal with them didn’t you?”

“You made a deal with them didn’t you?”

Jase gave a faint nod.

“Why?” The question tore out of me leaving a ragged hole and a sharp pain behind. For the first time, I saw beyond the expensive threads and perfectly coiffed hair. Beyond the corporate mask lay a desperate man.

“I was losing you to that damned book. You were always reading it. Nothing else registered, not even me. It was your cynosure.”

“So you what? You made a deal with a demon to–” I broke off as realization clubbed me.

And we don’t know how we got into this mad situation
Only doing things out of frustration, sang the Script as their song permeated my misery, sparking a bad idea. I prayed my gut was wrong.

I opened the book and flipped back to the fight scene where the story went off the rails. When I compared it to the earlier passages, I started. The typeface was different. Oh no, no, no–my silent denials fell on the altered page, but it refused to change back to what should have been.

I raised my gaze from the book and my anger zeroed in on Jase burning out any tender feelings I might have felt. “You altered the story?”

Jase stayed silent, but he refused to look at me.

“How did you change the story?” I ran my fingers over the hateful letters who line by line destroyed a paradise–my paradise. And across the gulf, I felt a spark of the old Shayari. The one where chivalry wasn’t just a word and where truth, justice, and peace were worth fighting and dying for. Was the story trying to self-correct?

I touched the page where it all went wrong and felt a pulse–no–a lifeline. My incorporeal fingers sank into the vellum, and she was there.

She’d try to make it work in these hard times.
But she’d wouldn’t start by drinking old cheap bottles of wine
or sit talking all night
Saying things we haven’t for a while–
not the woman warrior who’d sheltered under my ghostly skin.

Find the earlier parts of this series here.

If you missed a part, worry not. This will be available from Amazon in 2017.
The adventure continues tomorrow.

For the November Notes Writing Challenge hosted by  Sarah Doughty of Heartstring Eulogies and Rosema of A Reading Writer.