The Ghost

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Highlight from The Last Consort: Escape

Damn dreams. Why did she have to haunt his dreams?
There in the doorway, he could feel dampness from sweat on his lower back. Funny how the body worked, how sleeplessness often left its toll on foreheads and armpits. He slipped a dark t-shirt over his frame and began toward the hallway.
Patricia the interrogator, the comforter, the genuine, caring woman’s essence lingered like a light perfume, gently tickling his thoughts. Her family, her questions, her determination acted as troubling tastes in his mind. She was dangling a key to a passageway he had locked and ignored the haunting arias uttered from its bowels.
He couldn’t do that to himself. The only option was to do what he’d been doing for so many years. If he moved, it would make it the second time in a year. A growing weakness, he couldn’t seem to remain permanent. The woman with the beaked nose, the determined stare, the grace of a primed ballerina, the magnetism of her presence tugged at a side he often ignored so hard that it physically burned. Crazy. He was going to give in.
The tongue was more lethal than a bullet.
She’d been so strong, stronger than he ever could have been. He’d never met anyone quite like her and to vanish would be succumbing to the very existence he no longer wanted to accept. He understood. He understood what time had done to her.
William floated from room to room lost in his obsessions, lost in his nightmares, and inspired by a ghost. He walked with bare feet against the deep red wood floors of his apartment to the living room, unaffected by the chill settling in the small rooms. His jacket was sprawled on the back of the sofa. He fumbled through the pockets for a napkin he knew was there. He found it and took a moment absorbed in the quiet whispers of the room and went for a sketch book and pencil. Pressing hard against the thick paper, he began to create an image. As the lines began to intervene and twist, he thought of the night she wanted to know so much about. She needed to know. He needed to know that she of all people knew, no matter what it did to him. The one secret he’d obsessed over for years, the one secret she needed so desperately was the one that was slowing killing him. He couldn’t die with such weight on his chest. But it was too dangerous to let her know everything. Then she’d be at risk. A bite, that’s all he could share. And he would.
He stopped as if enlightened by some yearning entity he often pushed away; the voices of angels, the hurried songs of unseen forces not felt by him. Did he deny their existence to ward off his pain? He often wondered if he truly believed. Why he had been spared? He placed the sketch book aside, breathing in a cleansing breath, contemplating.
She had cried, as if all her suppressed emotions had come spilling out. It was because of him. Confession was his only solution to his restless self.

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