The following is a short excerpt from my second book, What She Died For, still in progress.
Isn’t this what show and tell is supposed to be?
What She Died For
8:02 pm. CST.
The tension in my gut immediately releases and is replaced by something indignant. Something that beats against the walls of my chest in a muted rage.
“Everything’s fine. Thanks for that prank. Try harder next time, my friend,” says Mina, smiling. “Cinnamon twist?” she asks, holding out the pan of pastries pulled straight from the oven.
I want to flip the pan out of her hands and into her face, branding her with its hot edges.
“What a relief!” I sigh. It is one of the biggest lies I’ve told this week. I sprawl out on Mina’s sleek black couch and sigh again, reaching for my iPod and ear buds.
My stomach clenches. I take a deep breath and fumble as I untangle my ear buds from their knotted mass.
The noise of the television in the background grows fainter, as do the soft pats of cinnamon twists being transferred into a Tupperware container.
“Mina?” I say faintly, dropping the ear buds.
“Mina!” I fairly yell.
“What?” she asks, alarmed as she looks over at me still lying on the couch.
“How accurate is your wall clock?”
I reach over to my laptop and flip it open.
8.00 pm. CST:
I’m deaf. I can’t hear a thing, and Mina is hovering over me, anxiously waving her hands in my face. I can read her lips.
“This is not a joke, Arya!” she’s saying. “I swear, tell me this is not a joke and I’ll call the ambulance ASAP.” I feel myself yelling a reply. I don’t even know what words are falling out of my mouth.
And then, the scene in front of me fades. It fades into a grey and black checkerboard, like a transition in a slideshow presentation. I feel my mouth making one syllable, over and over again.
The checkerboard before my eyes tears, rips open and reveals a gaping wound filled with a lush gray glow that I am not meant to see.
I watched. I stared. And then, I died.
I died that day, I’m sure of it. You know that feeling when you fall in love? I don’t, but I hear that it’s one of the surest feelings in the world. Something you “just know”. Ironic, isn’t it, that my first “just know” moment is death? There’s no denying it. It’s a truth that is as settled and fixed as the molten core of the earth.
What happened to me at 8:00 pm. CST that day confirmed something that I had long since thought was a fluid spectrum. It put me in a box, a category, and a group. My spectrum was no longer there.
I am evil.
I’m walking around the halls of my building at work as though it’s any other day from the past. After my checkerboard checkout on Mina’s couch that other day, I had woken up on a hospital cot, glucose IV pinned to my arm. I had torn out the IV in a hot spurt of anger and flipped off the nurse that sauntered into my room. I checked out of that confine as fast as I could, mumbling something about hypoglycemia and scribbling my signature on pages I didn’t even bother to read.
I rushed home that day and ran to the obsidian, sun shaped mirror on my wall, as I always did when I entered my apartment. I had stopped short of the mirror, bent my head, and shut my eyes tightly. My giant eyeballs were hot coals in my skull, burning my head pleasurably. I remember raising my head till it was level with the mirror and opening my eyes.
They were red.
Not the vein riddled sclera red caused by overnight contact lenses, a hangover, or bone dry air. Not the splotchy destitute red of a long bout of weeping.
Garnet red. Ruby red. Blood red. My irises were a deep, dark, translucent red.
My light brown eyes, usually framed by inky lashes so long they looked false, were gone.
Where did they go?
Where did they go?