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Gothic Beauty Magazine

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Willow Creek Chapter 15

Anna’s tongue felt heavy, and numb. She couldn’t move her arms- they lay, lifeless beside her body. She could feel them, to be sure- but she couldn’t control them. She tried to move her legs, and succeeded, minutely, by moving her left big toe. Where was she? She couldn’t remember. All around her, there was this high pitched, crystalline sound- as if someone had struck a hammer on the side of a huge, cavernous diamond and she was in the very centre. She moved her eyeballs left to right, and found she could control them- but when she tried to open her eyelids, it almost proved impossible. It was as if they were glued shut- but finally, after several minutes of effort, she pried them open, and found herself staring up at a blank white ceiling. How had she gotten here? The last thing she remembered was…. And suddenly, her mind snapped down on the thought like a rat in a trap. “Anna?” a man’s voice, low and soothing, came from the left, beyond her peripheral vision. She swiveled her eyes that way, but couldn’t move her head, or answer at all. Her voice seemed lost- as if her vocal cords were useless. Even the effort of attempting to speak seemed to drain an alarming amount of energy from her body. Suddenly, Alex’s face hovered over hers. “No, don’t try to talk!” he said hurriedly, and she felt his fingers trail through her hair. “I had to knock you out, I’m sorry,” he spoke so quickly he stumbled over his own words, “and you’re going to be really weak for a bit,” he smiled, trying to look reassuring. Anna stared at him- she had never realized just how creepy he looked before, his red eyes glinting down at her, completely catatonic. She wondered where Andrew was. “He’s in the other room, sleeping for a bit.” Her eyes snapped open wide at the answer to her question. Immediately, her thoughts jumped to the question- “how did he know?” at this, he smiled even wider. “It’s just something I can do,” he said, and he disappeared from her line of sight. He moved silently, so when he appeared on the other side of her field of vision, it scared her- though she could not move. Something about the way he was looking at her, as if she were something infinitely delicate, triggered a memory. The sudden vision of Sean’s torn apart body came screaming into her mind, her emotions ripping through her so hard they almost tore her in half. Unable to move, her grief remained trapped inside her mind. Alex winced, as if he felt it too. “I know, I know.” He said soothingly, and again she felt his fingers in her hair. She suddenly pictured Andrew, and a slow, simmering hate came up from the bottom of her soul. It was his fault! But above her, already Alex was shaking his head. “No, no- he thought he was doing the right thing. He took him to a doctor to get better, and he would have, if Annabelle hadn’t interfered.” His voice was low, and soothing, but it didn’t help. Rage came through next, and Alex actually shied away. “You need to calm down, all of this uses energy and you don’t have much left!” Anna’s mind switched from rage to confusion. “I only meant to take enough to knock you out, but I guess I’m stronger than I thought,” he said, looking embarrassed. “You were almost dead before- but a few days, and you gained it back!” he said brightly, as if this was a good thing. She stared at him, absolutely horrified. “I’m sorry, really!” he said loudly, as if trying to convince himself. “A few days more and you should be able to talk again!” “And walk?” Anna thought loudly, and Alex jumped as if she had shouted. “It will all come back around the same time.” He said soothingly. “And by the way, that was really good!” he smiled at her as if he had taught her something. “Tired,” She thought pointedly, hoping he would go away. But her stomach growled loudly just then, and he shook his head at the thought. “You have to eat.” He said, disappearing again. “HOW?” she thought as loud as she could, and, wincing, Alex appeared again on the other side. “Not so loud, you’ll give me a migraine!” he whined, his face twisted up. “I know how to feed the sick, my mother was a very sick young lady and I used to wait until HER mother left and help her eat.” He disappeared again before she could think anything else. He moved so silently, she didn’t know if he was there anymore or not. She stayed, staring up at the ceiling, waiting for him to come back and trying to think without letting him hear. She remembered standing up from kneeling beside the little girl, and then- horribly, slowly, as if time had slowed down- she remembered looking into the room, and seeing Sean’s head, sitting amongst the tangle, torn, bloody pile of the rest of his body, looking back at her- pain seared into his eyes, even in death. She remembered screaming, and she remembered Andrew spinning around, raising his hands to her, tears streaming down his face. She remembered, suddenly, flying towards the little demon, her hand raised as if to hit him; but arms grabbed her, and the world had swum away;
Alex’s face appeared over hers, and she snapped back to attention. “Try not to think about it, Anna,” his voice was low, and sympathetic, and somehow, now, it did help. “You still have Andrew, and he’s definitely not going anywhere- it took three days for me to convince him to sleep.” She heard him stirring something, and he put it down on something beside the bed. He scooped his arm behind her shoulders, lifting her up, supporting her head. She felt like rubber. He was so cold- his arms seared against her skin even through her clothes. He leaned her against the headboard, and grabbed a bowl of soup of the bedside table that she could see, now. She realized she was in the bedroom at the apartment again. She looked around, and suddenly she saw Andrew, peering around the doorway- his little face averted, as if expecting a rebuff. “Come here,” she thought, trying to convey kindness. His head tilted to the side, and he looked at her as if she were something new. “I can hear you!” he said, and Alex grinned widely. “See? You’re already growing! You’re good for each other!” he said, sounding too much like a car salesman. He held up a spoon of cream soup- steaming. “Hot.” She thought pointedly. “Your right,” He said, and blew gently on it. instantly, it froze, and Alex flushed with embarrassment. “oops!” he said, putting the bowl down and disappearing through the door. Andrew ran past him, jumping up on the bed. The motion of his body hitting the mattress bounced her around, and she slid, helpless, almost off it and onto the floor. “Sorry, mom!” Andrew shouted, dragging her back up. “Careful!” she glared at him reproachfully. She was already exhausted. Alex appeared beside the bed, scaring her for a third time. He winced as she thought daggers at him. “Alex is in trouble, Alex is in trouble…” Andrew sang softly, reaching out to take the bowl and spoon away from him. “I can do it!” Alex said, sounding outraged. “You’ll freeze it again!” Andrew said loudly, and Anna rolled her eyes. “Because this is exactly what I need right now, right?” she closed her eyes for a moment, tired out. “Let Andrew do it.” Alex pouted, handing over the bowl. Andrew grinned widely, sitting up on her lap. She felt his weight, but it didn’t bother her- in fact, it made her feel steadier. “You have to open her mouth for her, and her head needs to be kinda tilted back, but not so much she chokes.” Alex stood back, instructing. Andrew followed his directions, carefully pouring soup down her throat one spoon at a time. Anna couldn’t even taste it, but the pain in her stomach stopped- it had been hurting, ever since Alex had mentioned food. Soon enough, the bowl was empty, and Alex helped her lay down again, already swimming into sleep. As she drifted off, Andrew stayed at her side, curled up against her, trying to keep her warm. Alex left, giving up the pretense of walking as the human fell asleep again. He glided down to the kitchen, dropping the bowl and spoon into the sink with a clatter. He relaxed, and beside him on the counter, the glass of water he had intended for Anna to drink froze solid. He leaned against the sink, looking down at the drain. He felt energized- so much so that he wished he could leave Andrew with Anna, and go out for a while. But whenever he left Andrew alone with her, bad things happened to her- and Andrew, he thought, should have been his responsibility. The little demon had a talent for destruction. A sudden pounding on the door brought him out of his thoughts, and he snapped down the hallway to the door before Andrew could. Andrew stood in the bedroom door, his eyes wide. “Shut the door and be quiet,” Alex said softly, and the door shut in his face. He turned back to the front door, taking a deep breath before he opened the door. “Hello,” he said politely, but stopped short. Veronica, the Glamorous demon from the hotel, stood on the other side of the door. She smiled brightly, her teeth perfectly white against her fire engine red lipstick. “I hear the human is here!” she said, and shoved past Alex into the apartment.
Watch out for the next installment of Willow Creek.