The words over at Three Word Wednesday are erode, heart and observe. Still no Interwebs in the wilds of Wyoming, so I have to muddle through.
Alone In The Dark
He’s fairly certain there’s something wrong with his heart.
It’s pumping away in his chest, right ventricle, left ventricle. Coursing blood through all those miles of veins, arteries. The beat’s even strong, steady, for his age.
But there’s definitely something wrong.
She mews in her sleep and he listens in the darkness and there’s a flush of anger. He peels back the layers of bedding where she cocoons herself and observes. She’s naked under all those layers. All soft curves in what he can see reflected in the gentle light of a bathroom nightlight.
A scream builds in his chest. He stifles it by biting his knuckles until he nearly draws blood. His forehead is hot. He takes deep, deliberate breaths through flared nostrils.
He can’t shake the heat, the rage.
He removes a jumble of sheet and blankets off his chest and the moment’s fury is eased by the cool night air.
Still, there’s a knot of anger in his stomach, like a cramp, or pulled muscle. This isn’t physical, and he knows it. And he’s suspected it for quite some time.
His heart is beginning to erode.
Not so much the function, but its warmth.
There’s no pill for his condition. And while the rage is still there, pressing outward on his temples, his eye sockets for chrissakes, the knot in his stomach subsides, replaced by a cool slickness he knows is fear.
He wants to run, arms flailing, legs pumping until acid fills the fibers and he’s forced to stop. But he’s go nowhere to go, nowhere to run.
So he counts. Lets his mind go blank. He’s well into the 6,000s when he spies the clock. One minute before the alarm.
Another flash of anger.
She rolls to him, moves a warm hand up his side and through his chest hair, which is beginning to go gray. Her hand comes to rest over his heart.
It’s small and delicate and where it rests, he feels a tremendous weight. A heft that makes his breath catch.
And all at once, there’s a calm.
Slowly, as not to ruin this moment, he reaches out and shuts off the alarm.
Tired eyes close. He smiles.
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